Our daughter-in-law's parents and brother are visiting SLC...and joined us for Christmas dinner. It had been six months since we have seen Rachel's folks.
I had put out my album of Christmas pictures and Christmas letters from over the years; Jeff provided the background story on some of the pictures for Rachel and Debra.
The album begins with Christmas 1978, two years before Jeff was born.
Bernie finished making Christmas dinner: Pan seared New York Strip Steak roast with a shallot sauce, and roasted carrot, parsnips and fingerling potato with cardamon and coriander seasoning. Bruce made crescent rolls from scratch, and the kids contributed a colorful salad to round out the meal.Ohhh it turned out good!
Our table is designed to seat six, but one extra person at the end worked out just fine.
In fact, if the group was congenial, I think the table could even be used to seat eight!
And a less traditional pose just for fun.
After dinner and gifts it was board game time. I had been re-arranging some shelves and had a pile of board games out downstairs. Jeff spotted a game from his childhood, and insisted that it be played.
It was interesting to watch a roomful of highly educated people think through their next move.
Since I went digital my Christmas album has not been updated...at least three Christmas are not represented in the thick binder now.
But when I took a moment to look again, I realized the Christmas pictures stopped about the time the kids graduated from high school. After that, Christmas became a celebration that was changed forever for our family.
That was the year we sold the house that the children grew up in. We moved hundreds of miles away, leaving our daughter and extended family behind. Miles and then work schedules shifted our Christmas celebrations about, whereas before, for years and years, it had been the same: Christmas Eve at his parent's house, Christmas morning at our house, Christmas night at my parent's house.
Those were very good years.
After we moved it was Christmas in San Jose, then in Dallas, and in Houston, San Diego, Salt Lake City...some times with just Bernie and me, sometimes with Bernie's mother, or my parents sometimes with one child and sometimes with the other.
Since last year more extended family has moved away; a large part of the family now lives in Kentucky, some live in New Mexico, and three of the old familiar faces have flown away to heaven.
Debra commented at dinner that last Christmas, only a year ago, they had yet to met our son.
A year of change, and here we were, a newly created family, laughing and sharing like we had been family forever.
"And it came to pass..." the old beloved Christmas story begins.
I've learned that phrase in the Bible, for better or for worse, applies to all people, of all time and of all places, and no more so than for the short span of time that we celebrate each year as Christmas.