Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24, 2007

If I have an addiction, it is embodied in the form of an inconspicuous stick of gum. Gum is the solace I seek before diving into any grueling task: running several miles, sewing a dress, shopping, drumming or peeling potatoes—huge pots full, like today. When I wheedlingly asked Grandma if she had a hidden stash of the needed item, she responded, “Sure. And get me a piece, too. We might as well live dangerously.”

The snow drifted up several inches high under the edge of Grandma’s roof. As I stood at the window, looking longingly out into the brilliant sunshine, I remembered the year, not so long ago, when the drifts mounted up to better than five feet. Josiah and I scrambled up the TV antenna and jumped off the roof, to land safely in the piles of snow beneath. I don’t believe we’ll have enough padding this year for a repeat performance.

About half of the Knox family dropped by, in shifts, to say “hello” and “Merry Christmas”. Kansas still holds some of the most precious people God has made.

By about five o’clock Nathaniel and Lauren had arrived, and the rest of the family followed shortly after. You know how Christmas goes: talk, laugh, reminisce, eat a huge meal, eat tons of dessert, read the Christmas story, open gifts. Grandma threw in a fun twist by adding a game that soon had us all laughing. The house was mostly quiet again by eight-thirty or so.

I drummed for a little while, until Grandma protested. As I sat quietly, listening to Papa and Grandma discuss people, places and events, my drumsticks clicked and Grandma exclaimed, “Well, Abigail!” Instantly Papa commanded, “Abigail, shut your eyes.” I always feel so humiliated when he treats me like a five-year-old. He didn’t even know what Grandma had exclaimed about, and she was only teasing. Perhaps he only wants to keep me a little child, and so treats me like one—sometimes. Later, after an explanation of the affair, he said, simply, “Well, it never hurts you to close your eyes.” If he only knew. My imagination is powerful, and, if I concentrate hard enough I can remember the tiniest glimmer of repentance. Grandma made amends, “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I didn’t mean to get you in trouble.”

It’s past eleven now, and Nathaniel and Papa show no promise of quitting the living room, where I am to bed down after being booted out of the guest room by my brother and sister-in-law. Perhaps I shall bid them Merry Christmas at the same time I wish them a good night.

I wish I could claim some beautiful spiritual revelation for Christmas Eve. Quite frankly, I hardly had a thought to myself, and my Bible reading was barely long-enough to support a spiritual midget. How could Christmas have become so distorted that the day I should celebrate my Lord and Savior the most is so wrapped up in “other things” that I give little more than a nod in His general direction?

Lord, I claim to celebrate,
But tell Thee Thou wilt have to wait
For many things of many hues
Are claiming what, to Thee, is due.

God rest ye merry, Gentlemen,
When finally we cease this din,
I pray before we seek our rest
We’d thank Thee for Thy gift—the best.

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