At 7:05 Christmas morning, three bright-eyed children traipsed quietly up the stairs to our third-floor bedroom and with barely-contained excitement asked if we could open gifts now?? - and as we had promised they could wake us by 7 a.m. (but no earlier!) we dragged ourselves awake and joined them downstairs in the living room.
It was unanimously decided that the little boys should be allowed to keep sleeping on their first Christmas morning at home, so without further ado Eva, Isabel and Owen initiated the joyful tradition of digging through their stocking gifts with gusto. Chewing gum, mechanical pencils, stamps and paper pads, fruit snacks and bouncy balls and other assorted items rounded out the simple but fun offerings that Pedro and I had carefully wrapped a few days earlier.
Then came the moment of truth - an unveiling of a special family gift that lay hidden behind the closed and sealed door of the tv room. At first glance Owen did not seem to comprehend what it was, but seconds later he yelled, "It's a Wii! A Wii!" and soon his sisters joined in and all were bouncing delightedly up and down with glee over the surprise that was lovingly mailed by faraway grandparents for the pleasure and pastime of their grandkids in Chile.
The games began and eventually Ian and Alec joined the celebration. When they awoke their sisters were quite willing to assist in the boys' first-ever stocking ceremony and help unearth and unwrap the treasures for their little brothers. Of course it was a delight to see the excitement and thrill on Ian and Alec's faces with each new discovery! And it was just as delightful to watch the interaction between siblings on this long-awaited day of family togetherness.
Besides the stockings and Wii there were only two other gifts per child but each one was happily received and put to good use as the little boys carted their sand toys off to the pool and the big kids pulled themselves away from the electronics to create with the art supplies from their other grandparents. Airplanes and potholders and other designs took shape as the creative juices started flowing!
Long-distance phone conversations were exchanged with loved ones as the day stretched on, slow and lazy but peaceful and pleasant. Late in the day we finally dragged ourselves into the kitchen and created a masterpiece of a Christmas dinner with a smoked turkey as its crowning glory. We had invited our neighbors to join us but earlier in the day they sent their regrets, so everything was low-key and in the end it was special just to spend the entire day with our five precious children.
"I'm glad Jesus had a birthday!" was a comment made by one of our children and indeed, we are thankful for this deeper "reason for the season." Several days have gone by now since Christmas and we continue to read Scriptures and hang Jesse tree ornaments (since we had gotten quite a bit behind) and as we do so, we sing carols and draw out the celebration just a little bit longer. Each memory is sweet and precious ... to be treasured for years to come.