It is a little tricky to get family pictures at the Austin Family Christmas. People are constantly on the move. The only time we sit very, very still is during dinner and when we sing Christmas songs.
As in past years, my parents make serving the family dinner one of their presents to us, and it is truly an act of service. The kids and grand-kids enjoy one another over a beautiful salad, a fantastic hot meal and more dessert than we can eat in a night (but God knows we try).
After dinner, we put away the tables and chairs and gather to sing. This year, there were five of us strumming our guitars. I think some of the family members were singing but the guitars were so loud that I couldn’t hear them. Todd, Chad, Ben, Caleb and I rocked the G-chord on nearly every song.
Once the singing is over (and its never soon enough), Dad tells us the Christmas story, we share Communion, and spend some time talking. This year Dad asked about some of our favorite Christmas memories and that started a nice discussion that included everything from dead mice to mislabeled packages. But we also talked meaningful and important moments of Christmas past.
And then the moment we’d all been waiting for…more dessert.
And then that other moment: The White Elephant Exchange. There’s nothing that says Christmas like a pile full of stupid presents that are so bad, no one wants to actually use them when the received them years before. They stay stashed away in a garage for 12 months only to be returned to the pile the following year. I know. I got my same stupid ski men that I pawned off last year!
But, all in all, it was a wonderful evening. We laughed hard, we sang loud and we loved well. It was a very Merry Two-Nights-Before-Christmas.