We had a wonderful Christmas. We missed having extended family around, but we did some things that we plan to make family traditions. On Christmas Eve, we attended a midnight service at an Episcopal church in OKC. The church, Alls Souls, was a bit more anglo-catholic than we were expecting, but the liturgy, which was sung, was beautiful. The sermon was quite evangelical and Christ-centered, and the music was superb. I went expecting to hear beautiful music, but the quality was really professional. They sang traditional English hymns like “See Amid the Winter Snow” and “Once in Royal David’s City.” They also did the even more familiar hymns like “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” and “The First Noel.” All were arrangements from composer/arrangers like Wilcox and Rutter and I was familiar with them from high school choir and from churches we have attended in the past. It was wonderful to hear them sung so beautifully! Our children were also well behaved, which is always a blessing, but it was particularly important as this church didn’t seem to think children should be in a worship service–and particularly one at 11 pm. We had a lot of compliments after the service on their behavior, and of course, we had very little to do with it. But we were still thankful for it! We hope to make attending a Christmas eve service a tradition.
After getting to bed very late, the children woke up at about 8:15 on Christmas morning. We had a very short Christmas devotional, opened the gifts, and ate a late breakfast after trying out several gifts. Then we headed to Norman with Mark on a hospital visitation to see a church member who has cancer. The children sang one of the songs they learned for our church’s lessons and carols service. The church member and her husband were very appreciative of the visit. The next morning, Nevin, our 4-year-old, prayed for “the lady in the hospital” without any prompting from us. We hope we can make doing something nice for someone outside our family on Christmas day (or close to it) a family tradition, too.
Finally, after our visit to the hospital, we ate lunch with another family from church. It was a casual meal and a pleasant visit. The family has 3 teenagers who kept up with our kids, so we actually had time to talk with the adults there. With none of our family able to come to our house this year, it was nice to share a meal with another family. Next year, perhaps I’ll invite someone to our house. We would have done that this year, but we didn’t know of anyone in need of a place to go.
When we finally got home in the early evening, we were exhausted, but we were thankful for a good day together as a family.