Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Night

Christmas a new place, with new family members in the pictures that will be part of our future Christmas memories.

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.

A table groaned with pre-dinner treats which didn't get a picture, but allowed everyone to chat and savor time together while...

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!

Clockwise from top: Rachel's brother Scott, Rachel, Jeff, Rachel's dad Bruce.

The traditional picture in front of the tree before the presents are opened.

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.

Child's game indeed! This one took some strategic thinking!

Team Jeff and Rachel won...and Jeff did the Happy Reindeer Prance in celebration.

Since I went digital my Christmas album has not been 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.


Vicki said...

My brother and I discussed how we miss our "old" Christmasses with family (he and I were the only ones absent this year). The changes can be difficult, but at least we have our memories.

Capturing the memories in a blog rather than an album is easier to share with those far away. However, I long will these blogs filled with all our thoughts, photos, and memories last? Many years from now, will they be still be on a server somewhere, ready to appear on someone's computer with just a few pokes on a keyboard? Gee...I guess I've had too much free time to think this weekend! ;)

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

And it came to pass...Christmas 2009. It looks like it was a good one at your place...I can almost taste that meat...done to perfection. Things change...and Christmas will never again be the same...but we have the memories once it has 'come to pass'.

Marg said...

Another year, another place, and another table setting?
Sounds like you enjoyed playing some of the old games. My daughters asked, "Why is everyone modifying everthing today? Leave the Christmas Carols as they were, leave board games as they were....."
I was totally shocked...
It's sometimes fun to do some old fashioned things and leave the rest alone.
Have a wonderful new year.