When folks ask about my Christmas plans, I always say we're doing the family circuit. And I mean it! We have lots of family close by, and we spend the holidays partying with everybody!
Our Christmas Eve kicked off with German pancakes and bacon (for Brad) - why didn't I get a picture of that loveliness?? - and then final preps for our annual snacks with the Wood family.
Donna and I served up plates and plates of cheese, crackers, dips, veggies, treats, etc. So much for keeping it simple this year ;)
And of course, a group picture:
|Grandma Wood, me, Donna, Jill, Aunt Louise|
Brad, Uncle Dick and Steve
Then it was time for me to scoot to Newberg for our next Christmas Eve tradition: handbells!
Dad brought Grandpa:
Since my notes were few during Silent Night, I snagged a photo from up front as everyone held up their candles. So beautiful.
Mom snapped this pic of Dad and Grandpa:
Gregg shared these powerful words:
May this act of lighting candles bring honor to Jesus, who on a silent night long ago entered our world and our frame of reference so that we would not be alone in the dark.Brad's family attended the first service, then Brad headed out on his annual Christmas Eve run. It's a great way to see the lights and get some alone time during a hectic few days.
May our caring for the light of these candles remind us of the need to pay attention to what God is doing in our lives each and every day of the year.
May the ease with which we share the candle light with our neighbors remind us that Jesus lives to be shared with everyone!
And, may the light that will soon illuminate this entire room remind us that however dark it seems in our world, however dark it seems in our lives, there is NO darkness great enough to overcome Gods supreme and ultimate light, Jesus Christ.
Meantime, we finished up three services, packed up all the bells and drove to Eryn's house for a little snack (noticing a theme?!) and decompression after a long day - and preparation for another long day.
Christmas morning, we gathered at 7 at Mom and Dad's house. Good looking tree!
Mom had a yummy oatmeal bar and other snacks to fuel us for the morning. And as always, we took turns opening presents until the piles were gone.
Dad got a high-viz helmet cover... and had to demonstrate:
Wait... here's the whole waterproof cycling outfit... and new grips:
Like our matching shirts from the Ugly Sweater Run? We planned this cuteness :)
Then it was time to go to Ma and Pa's for more family, food and presents. We ate a yummy brunch and then got down to it. (Presents, I mean!) And a group shot:
|Liz, Brad, Pa, Dad, Aunt Kari, Eryn, Mom, Ma|
Cousin Jessie, Cousin Kayla, Aunt Vicki and Matty the dog
Next up, we drove to Vancouver for Christmas time with Brad's family.
While we were up north, Mom, Dad and Eryn went to Cousin Amy's house to celebrate with the McKee side of the family. Unfortunately, they gather every other year on Christmas afternoon, so we miss out. Looking forward to seeing all the aunts, uncles and cousins this next year. And I'm thankful I saw Grandpa on Christmas Eve.
Brad's sis, Jill, was in from NYC - as was her boyfriend, Maroof! It was the first time meeting Maroof, as well as his first time in Washington/Oregon and his first time doing a traditional American Christmas with gifts and all that. WOOHOO!!! We showed him how with his own pile of presents :)
After, we ate a delicious meal of Christmas burritos and sat around chatting and getting to know the newest member of the family. Then Jill, Brad, Maroof and I took a walk around the neighborhood before hitting the hay.
Maroof was only in town a short time, and Jill really wanted to take him snowshoeing on Mount Hood. Unfortunately, there was no snow in Government Camp, so they opted for his first trip to the Oregon Coast instead.
Those pics up next...