Yesterday the family started arriving and by dinner time there were eighteen of us here to enjoy time around the table. The Talbott family sang after dinner. It was beautiful. Their harmonizing was sweet and melodious as they sang of the Savior's birth. John and Jacqui from Charlottesville brought the traditional homemade goodies, and their smiling kids. Cousins played computer games, laughed and joked, and just generally had a good time together. Sandra and Joshua joined us because Dan and Julie were out of town town spending Christmas in eighty-degree Florida! We laughed, played games, played the harp, and ate too many sweet things. After dinner the girls all walked to Paul Burton's apartment to watch "Miss Potter" on the big screen while the men stayed at the house to talk about guy stuff.
In the news last week I saw several articles about surviving family gatherings at the holidays. It was interesting to read about all the ways to avoid conflict with relatives and how to get through the day without any harm coming to anyone. I thought about that last night while our family was gathered here. Not because there were any volatile moments but because of the harmony. I'm grateful for it. The uniting factor for our family is the shared faith that we have in God and the belief that He is ever present in every conversation. Yes, there really are people who live like that! We've shared many events over the years as we raised our children. Nearly everyone here had been on a missions trip at some point in their lives, and there was a shared interest in the things happening in the lives of other family members. Many families do not have those things in common. And the icing on the cake was having Kathryn and Qavah feeling well enough to be a part of it all.
This anniversary marks our thirty-five years together. It sounds like a long time but it seems like only yesterday we were waiting for the minister who was fifteen minutes late for our ceremony. There were no cell phones back then and we were beginning to wonder if he had forgotten us. The guests were all seated and we were ready. Then he appeared (having been delayed by a Michigan blizzard) and married us, and we all lived happily ever after with a few arguments along the way.