Monday, December 29, 2014

Catching up on Christmas - Family Gatherings

Merry Christmas to all!!  I know, I know, I'm 4 days behind.  Bad practice for an aspiring blogger, but somewhat in my defense we've been busy living Christmas and have not been good about sharing it with the on-line family.  I don't go back to my 'day job' until the 5th, so over the next week I'll be "catching up on Christmas".  I'll be sharing pictures where I have them, and simply narrating our family's activity and traditions where I don't.

I'll be sharing about family gatherings, Church activities, cookie baking, puzzle making, and some perspectives on what really matters.  If you get bored you can tune me out (there is that "Next Blog" button at the top of the main page!), but for the next few days I'll be generating a series of posts reflecting on holiday happenings at the Hoosier County Homestead.


Let's start with family gatherings:  Family gatherings are a big deal at the Hoosier Country Homestead, whether they are held here or elsewhere.  We have gotten to the point where, between families, Church, and Church Small Group, there are so many gatherings we need to spread them out, and our generation has gotten to the point where we are ready to let the days surrounding Christmas Day be the busy ones so the day can be quiet(er) and more reflective.

Mark and De at her family gathering
To that end, the family gathering for De's family was held on the Sunday afternoon before Christmas at one of her brother's homes.  They have a place large enough to comfortably accommodate everyone.  It's the smallest of the family gatherings and, with 6 not able to make it, came in at 14 family members.  Those that were able to make it ranged from 3 to 73.  We shared a tasty but casual meal as part of our time together.  We've come to enjoy the causal meals, because they allow more time for sharing and frees up folks from the kitchen and clean-up chores.  Gifts were given to 'Grandma' (De's Mom) the 'kids' (now ranging from 26 down to 3), and we all had a chance to catch up on family, college, school, work, and the general goings on in everyone's lives.

Our church encourages members to participate in one of a myriad of small groups (some churches call them study groups, accountability groups, etc.).  The core of our group has been meeting together for 12+ years with one couple moving away and several new couples joining over the years.  We now have 7 couples in the group.  Each week we meet for a meal, Bible study and prayer, usually at one of our homes but sometimes at the church building.  This group has become a real anchor for us and we count each other as 'family'.  With some of the kids and one couple missing, 16 of us got together on the 23rd for a meal and a 'white elephant' gift exchange. Great fun!

My family gathering is on Christmas Eve.  Our practice has been to come together early afternoon, share a large but casual, late afternoon 'finger-food' meal, exchange gifts, and then finish the evening at the Christmas Eve service.  It was at our house this year and, with 6 not able to make it, there we 23 of us.  Our house is really not large enough to comfortably accommodate that many, but we had a great time anyway.  We ranged in ages from Great-Gramma (my Mom) at 86 down to 8 months (or so).

As I said earlier, family is SO important for us and we really enjoy the sharing.  We are very fortunate in that almost all of us share a common faith and have a deep appreciation for the REAL reason we celebrate Christmas.  That Christian foundation makes everything else 'real' and meaningful.  We are sooo blessed!

Next up - The family tradition of cookie baking!

Col. 1:9-12,


1 comment:

  1. My goodness! You and De have been on a whirlwind of happy busyness! I look forward to your post on your family tradition of cookie baking. I baked only one variety of Christmas cookie this year (unheard of for me!) but we were given more goodies than we needed so we didn't suffer.