Saturday, December 23, 2006

Celebrating Moments

I set the dinner table last night with dishes I received from a dear friend before she passed away. She told me that she wanted me to enjoy them, and I do. The table was set and all was prepared. Everyone arrived and it was very Norman Rockwell-ish, with the head of our home at the head of the table. Before we ate, Paul suggested we sing, “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow…” and it sounded beautiful. It was beautiful. Paul prayed and we sat down to Christmas dinner by candlelight. The gratitude I feel for the gift of a family can’t really be captured with words. To look around the table and see the faces of people God gave me to love, and who love me, is more than I think I deserve. But I gratefully and humbly accept it. Little Annelise was in her cradle near the table, close enough for Paul to put his foot on the rocker of the cradle and gently rock it while he ate his dinner.

This year has hammered home to me the reality that the person at the table to the right of me or to the left could be taken home to heaven in a moment. It has changed the casual way I expect everyone to always be here. I am appreciating not just events, but moments. They are caught in my mind like a photograph to be studied later. There were Mom and Dad playing instruments in the library after dinner. I looked in on them loving their music and enjoying each other. I came down the stairs and rounded the corner to see Jenn standing near the table enjoying an appetizer looking radiant and lovely with the glow of motherhood. Dan and Julie arrived for dessert carrying a large basket piled high with bags of the famous Wensley kettle corn. When I opened the back door to let them in, they were grinning from ear to ear. Katy and Paul Burton made me laugh when they explained how they wrapped one of my gifts with a special ribbon technique to make it look less like a tombstone. There was a moment when Colin and Jenn were leaving with little Annelise safely strapped into her car seat that made me so proud to see them being their own little family now, with Colin taking care of his girls. Katy and Whitney chatted through dinner and every once in a while I heard Katy say, “This tastes so good!” Danae and Katy had a chance to talk, catch up, and exchange gifts. We had devotions at the table during dessert and Paul Burton led us in singing a couple of well loved Christmas hymns. All of these moments are treasures.

I love how scripture tells us that as Mary watched her boy grow up, “she pondered these things in her heart.” Mothers do ponder these things. They are the gifts of motherhood. The kids and their families may not always make it home for Christmas. The table may not always be full. Those are the times I hope to bring out the memories that are stored like photographs in my mind and ponder them, being thankful that for a season in my life, it felt like being in a Norman Rockwell painting.


  1. Sarah Meador Says:

    What a special celebration you all enjoyed!! Thanks for sharing the pictures and the memories!

    Merry Christmas, dear friends. :-)

    With love,

  2. Kristin Dunker Says:

    It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to “catch up” here on the blog. What a delight to hear all about your Christmas goings-on! I hope you have a wonderfully blessed weekend of celebration! Merry Christmas to all the Campbell Clan~
    With Love,
    Kristin & Jesse Dunker

  3. Lillian Oliveira Says:

    Katy, Dawn and all, What a blessing to be a little part of your Family Christmas dinner, reading about and seeing people so dear to me! Paul and Lucile playing their instruments is special! And you and Katy and the new little Annelise!

    We had a little candlelight supper here tonight. Neither was very hungry and I’d been making a big pot of green pea soup all afternoon. (Not that kind they served us at the college cafeteria - tasted like dish-water gone bad!) But with ham hocks and minced, sauteed onion and garlic and just a bit of fine-diced tomato, simmered to a thick sauce. I served that with small rounds of French bread toast spread with cream cheese, with capers and smoked salmon added. Yum! We’d had an egg-nog/7-up appetizer earlier. A white cloth on the table with Noel place mats… a round cut-class dish with a slender crystal vase in the middle holding pine, red and white carnations, baby breath, and the dish filled with peppermints…two little round candles lighting us on either side, and Christmas carols playing. Piles of Christmas cards around the kitchen and standing open on the counters. And the joy of celebrating Jesus’ birth with feasting and quiet content.

    Tomorrow will be a special Sunday, with the Am and PM services - and I’m going downtown with Pei-ti in the afternoon to see the lights for the first time since 1985 when Tony and I were married! Pei-ti keeps saying “You’re like a little kid!” Because I get all excited over such simple things. Sunday, Christmas Eve is a Candlelighting service with communion at church - always special. Next Saturday will be our big Family gettogether…

    His Name is Immanuel! And He is with us! Love you all so much! Aunt Lil

  4. Jennifer S. :-) Says:

    Those pictures are beautiful, and truly worth a thousand words. Thank you for sharing!!
    Merry Christmas!!
    Love and prayers,
    Jen :-)

  5. Julie Wensley Says:

    Merry Christmas! We love you!

  6. Julie Wensley Says:

    For unto us a Child is born! Unto us a Son is given!

    Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

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