Christmas…  lovely, glorious, beautiful, sacred Christmas.

It began with the usual flourish…  of eager tiptoes hastening down the staircase, wrapping paper being torn asunder, and the joyful cheers of happy children.

Their eyes twinkled with the beauty of the ribbons and paper, it seemed that none of them wished to dash the pristine magnificence of the tree and the many packages which crowded around the trunk. The stillness was only for a moment’s peace before they plunged into the cornucopia quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice.

My beloved oversaw the festivities while I snapped a few photos and stoked the fire…

Gaelynn’s eyes roved over everything, as though she wished to impress every aspect of the gifts before partaking, and opened each of her gifts before delving into their particulars.

Israel savored each gift, removing it from its box after tearing away the gaudy wrapping, and then exploring it to his satisfaction before moving on to the next.

Sophia was the reveler, celebrating with each exclamation of joy or surprise that came from her siblings. As always, all was spectacle for her.

Following this, there was play…  Gaelynn arranging her toy horses into a precise diorama, the din of Israel’s radio-controlled race car squealing across the hardwood floors, the blustering and laughter when Sophia interrupted the former or the latter.

Upon the evening, we all feasted upon rare roast beast, a good-sized bird glazed in oil and spices. Tender and savory, with plenty left over. Even with a belly full my mind was adrift with thoughts of turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey a la King, and gallons of turkey soup.

In the midst of this wild-eyed fervor was a warm glow of contentment that filled my abdomen, of the children, young people, and families to whom I was honored to be of service; of the families who would be enjoying a honey-glazed ham or the children who received a large parcel of gifts from a large wild-eyed and curly-bearded white man. I thought of the food and gifts brought to many, the work of our LORD’s hand in this community.

It ended with quiet and tranquility…  of wee folk sleepy dream-filled murmurings and sighs; of a man and woman, together in the dark.

A long trail of chimney smoke trailing upwards into the clear star-filled sky.

So this is Christmas…