A day spent in relative leisure, culminated in an outing to church for Christmas Eve services.

Instead of the customary “Sunday-best” wardrobe for such an occasion, we bundled the children in their warm woolen pajamas with coats, scarves, and gloves.

Considering the lateness of the hour, as well as our plans to adjourn from the preceding to drive about the town viewing the many Yuletide startlements upon eave and shutter, we thought this to be practical as well as more comfortable for the children. It occurred to me that someone might make a deprecatory remark or, at the very least, raised a perturbed eyebrow… but I dismissed it as being overly finicky.

Imagine my surprise when I was accosted by a number of the parents of our congregation, each praising such a prudent approach and remarking that they might take such a course of action for future reference.

The evening service was lovely, flickering candles and garlands green created a delightful ambience combined with the ethereal singing of the great hymns of the Faith and Carols of the Season.

Afterward, we departed the sanctuary in embrace and handshake… echoes of “Merry Christmas” flowed out of the warmth of the entrance hall and into the cold Winter night.

O, we shall miss these dear ones something fierce.

We drove to a nearby Starbucks for Hot Cocoa and after fueling up, turned our wheel towards the affluent neighborhoods of Hillsmere, Keyes Farm, and Bay Ridge to take in the glimmering spectacle.

It seemed the lights were far less in depth and scope than in recent years. Candace and I talked about how the economic downturn had seemed to impact the frivols of the season, sharing anecdotes of our respective places of business and those in our sphere of influence.

The children giggled and cooed about the various arrangements, recognizing beloved characters such as Snoopy and the Grinch.

Sophia howled with glee and clapped her hands, this is the first Christmas that she has been able to discern that something is going on around her, and it has been delightful to share her joy and wonder.

Eventually the hour grew late, and the children’s eyes became heavy with the need for a long Winter’s nap.

Arriving home, I read to them of the Nativity of our LORD and spoke at length about many layers of symbolism and the depth of meaning contained within all the aspects…  my children grew increasingly quiet until all was silence.

I’d like to think that it was a sober astonishment of it all, but it was probably more of an exhausted and over-stimulated stupor than anything else.

The low murmur of Put The Lights On The Tree by Sufjan Stevens replaces the voices of children. I stoke the fireplace and retire to a comfy chair…  waiting for Father Christmas to arrive.