We're in the mountains of North Carolina -- Lake Junaluska, near Asheville, to be exact -- where Sara's parents and grandparents live, celebrating with an extended family time. (Yes, both the time and the family are extended.)
It's been a wonderful Christmas, for lots of reasons:
- We spent Christmas Eve with friends Shelley and Mike, who provided fantastic music to make our Christmas Eve worship celebration special. We celebrated twice: with an indoor service in a meeting room at Portland's historic Eastland Park Hotel, next to what will soon be our home for worship and ministry on High Street; and with an outdoor celebration in Congress Square, at the intersection of Congress & High Streets. It felt great to be able to worship in our new neighborhood. Following worship we went to Don & Sue's house for a magnificent Christmas Eve dinner. Before we knew it, it was after 10:00, which meant late to bed for Rachel, and even later for Sara and me as we wrapped gifts, packed for our trip, and finished a few last-minute preparations.
- We had a relaxing Christmas morning, made merry with the opening of gifts like a snuffed Snuffleupagus, a set of wooden blocks, a CD of Sesame Street music, and a tricycle which has been in our basement for some time, waiting for the perfect age. After breakfast with Shelley & Mike and good-byes, we headed out for the Manchester NH airport and on to North Carolina, by way of Detroit.
- We've been at Lake Junaluska, NC since Christmas night, celebrating with Sara's family. Sara's parents live here, and her sister Elizabeth and brother-in-law Greg are visiting with their 14-week old baby (our niece) Lydia. Sara's Turkington grandparents also live here, and every year the extended family comes for a Christmas celebration that lasts several days. This year there were 24 of us! We've enjoyed many wonderful meals, times of singing, giving and receiving gifts, attending worship together, going for walks around the lake, and catching up with each other. Now that most of the Turkingtons have left, Sara's Ewing grandparents and Aunt Nancy have arrived from Florida, and the celebration continues. We'll be leaving tomorrow, and then heading to Searsport, Maine where we'll celebrate Christmas with my extended family.
I'm so thankful for the hope of Christmas, for family, and for these times together.
It's hard to believe we're creeping up on 2009, but I guess we are. I'm looking forward to blogging more consistently in the new year.