It's Christmas Eve:  a day that I have always looked forward to with great anticipation.  When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to go to my Nanny and Poppy's house for a big lasagna dinner.  Wow.  Nanny always went ALL out.  Antipasto, garlic bread dripping in butter, olive salad, meatballs, sausage, cookies, fruit, lasagna....oh my goodness the lasagna.  She spent hours, no, DAYS, on the lasagna.  She had all the noodles perfectly measured out. Yes, she actually MEASURED the noodles.  Each layer had the perfect amount of meat, cheese, and sauce.  That pan must have weighed 20 lbs.  Her tables were set with her white China with the gold trim.  The fancy Christmas napkins were folded next to the gold fork and spoon.  And, of course, there were little bowls of parmesan cheese scattered everywhere.  One could never have enough cheese, after all. 

Nanny and Poppy's tree was loaded with ornaments that ranged from the antique to the homemade ones by us grandchildren.  And there were gifts EVERYWHERE!   There wasn't enough room underneath the tree to fit them all.  My cousins and I would go around counting gifts to see how many each person had in their pile. Nanny always knew the exact number of total gifts.  And she knew how many she had the year before. 

After the big dinner and chaos of opening gifts, Poppy would have the "privilege" of clean up duty. Poor guy.  I will never forget him going around his living room buried in wrapping paper, holding a Hefty garbage bag while we tossed in the crumpled up paper.  

We celebrated Christmas Eve at my Nanny and Poppy's house until about 10 years ago.  

Christmas Eve has evolved over the years.  Family has moved to different parts of the country.  Nanny and Poppy moved out of their house.  We had children.  Poppy went to heaven. 

I am really missing my Poppy today.  He has been in heaven for 4.5 years, but it feels like twice as long.  

Today, I find myself feeling so nostalgic.   I think the holidays can do that to a person.  

I find myself reflecting on the past year...the struggles and the beauty of it all.  Oddly, I feel anxious. The kind of anxious that I cannot exactly define.  Tomorrow, we fly out to see my parents and my brothers and sisters and niece and nephew.  I am so excited!!!  I am excited to celebrate my daughter's first Christmas.  I am excited to see my son's reaction to his gifts.  But I also feel nervous about the year to come.  What challenges will 2016 hold?  How will I handle them?  

So many mixed emotions!

As I sit and quiet my heart, God reminds me of this:

And they called His name Emmanuel.


He was with us around Nanny and Poppy's table.

He was with us during the struggle to have a family.

He was with us when we buried Poppy.

He is with us in this season and al that it holds.

Thank you God.  

Thank you for sending your Son.  

Thank you for being my constant in a life full of change.