December 27, 2021

But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 NRSV

The Findlay-Chamberlain family has a very particular order for how things work on Christmas morning. No one is allowed to go downstairs until the parents have a chance to turn on the tree lights and check to see if Santa came.

Next, we all gather around Rod, who reads Luke 2:1-20. Following that, we open stocking gifts. It is then the children’s job to sort all the packages under the tree while I put the finishing touches on breakfast. Then we eat breakfast and enjoy friendly conversation around the table. Once breakfast is over and the dishes cleared, we return to the living room to open gifts. We go in order from youngest to oldest, each selecting and opening one gift per round.

There were many moments to treasure and ponder in my heart this Christmas, the 2nd in a row that our son, his spouse and our two youngest granddaughters spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us. It’s a new-old experience, bringing up memories of the years when we and later, our sons were children.

The moment that captured the wonder of Christmas wasn’t in the opening of presents, it was in the reading of the ancient yet familiar words from Luke 2. Our granddaughters were chomping at the bit to open their stockings. Their attention was torn between the mounds of gifts in wrapping paper spilling out from under the tree. They were reminded to sit and listen to the story, and 7-yr-old Anne-Sophie, who is easily distracted and often has a case of ants-in-her- pants, sat motionless, hanging on every word.  

I can still see the room, the lights on the tree. I can hear the silence as we gathered for the story, the gift of quiet amidst the excitement. I ponder the image of an active little girl in flannel PJs hanging on every word in my heart.

Holy One, help me to find that place of quiet attentiveness as well. ~ Anne

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