#1,471 Christmas Eve.

It’s Christmas Eve! It’s been a slightly unusual one, but a good one, too.

There was some very very late sleeping (on my part—Ben went to the church early). Followed by fresh baked fig and pepper bread baked my sweet friend, Dawn.

There was red velvet baking for tomorrow’s gathering at mama’s (and cream cheese icing, of course):

Then lunch with Jim, Mal and the Hickners at Pasquale’s, a little work before closing up shop through the New Year, then the candlelight service at church. It’s always the most packed house of any worship service all year, and I understand why. It’s beautiful. Violins, communion, prayers, candlelight. It brings the truth about Christmas into very sharp focus and makes all the stress that surrounds it fall away. I forgot about being so harried because we were running late, that my coat felt itchy, that I was thinking how it’s harder to have Christmas spirit when you’re older because the responsibility begins to shift, and it’s your job to make sure traditions keep happening. I forgot all that. And I walked out feeling ready and excited about tomorrow. Because Christmas is really just about love and new beginnings. And there’s nothing stressful about that.

And afterward, things got weird. As is the tradition, we picked up mama and daddy in the old 1964 Pontiac to go look at Christmas lights. Ben installed a new radio with bluetooth that we were all excited to try. We grabbed blankets, loaded up Hooper, turned on Otis Redding Christmas…

And for no reason at all, the little electrical short that’s been causing occasional problems with the engine… Became an electrical long. We were dead in the water. In the freezing cold. The Christmas cheer hit rock bottom for about 30 minutes until Aunt Phyllis could pick us all up and take us home so we could get the truck to tow the car home. Mama and I followed behind with our flashers. You know, to be team players.

But Christmas cheer improved when we were home by the fire, watching The Family Stone.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!