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.