Maybe it was all the cookies they ate.
Maybe it was sleeping under the tree for a month.
Maybe it was just innocent excitement and anticipation
Maybe I was too homesick
Regardless of the reason- we had a rocky Christmas Eve.
First we thought we would take a nice walk around the neighborhood and see some Christmas lights.
This is our house- my husband and sons did a fine job. I love how our house resembles a gingerbread house.
Then we drove around and tried to appreciate lights in the community. Not too many lights out in the community. Many of the homes have had flood damage- so I can understand "putting up Christmas lights" might have been low on the priority list for many of the families in our community.
We came back to the house after "striking out". (Son #2 kept saying in the car- well that road was a strike out. Well here's another strike out. etc... not really adding to the Christmas cheer.)
Then we came back to the house to open one present. (Christmas tradition #89) I actually combined two traditions. Tradition #5 Getting a new ornament and opening one present. I normally give their ornaments on the night we decorate the tree. But I didn't have one that night so they opened their new ornaments last night.
THEN- since our family is "performance" challenged- I had made this shadow box and had cut out some silhouettes so while we sang along to Christmas songs kids could take turns holding up the images.
In theory it was a beautiful idea. I couldn't get the Christmas carols to play off the computer- so we tried to sing by ourselves.
(not good- really really REALLY sad.)
Then after a few out-of-tune carols the wise men
started sword fighting with baby Jesus behind the shadow screen.
(Admittedly that was kinda funny- and to be expected.) But over all I was disappointed. (and probably more homesick.) But just the kids seemed sooo wild and unable to focus two seconds on the message my husband and I were trying to present. They were just goofing off and wrestling.
So- without raising our voices or saying much, we sent the kids to bed. Kissed them goodnight and we all turned in around 8:00 pm.
After about 20 minutes- I can hear crying from the other room. Both my older boys came in and apologized for misbehaving. My oldest said, "That wasn't the way I wanted Christmas Eve to be."
I agreed. "But we don't always get what we want do we?"
Then they really started sobbing. They wanted to know on a scale from 1-10 how disappointed we were. I said about a 6.
That is when I realized... they thought (feared) Santa might not come.
We thanked them for their apology and sent them back to bed.
The ONE REDEEMING lesson learned last night. At 9:30 my husband suggested we have a "Re-do". Let's try again.
I am soooo glad he did. Because that is not what Christmas is about! Kids crying in their beds and disappointed parents in theirs. So we went into the boys rooms and proposed our plan to try again. They were eager and willing.
Never such angels did you see! All sitting quietly as we read a book about Jesus' Birthday and then my husband read from Luke 2.
Each child picked a carol for us to sing. It was very sweet.
I'm so glad we didn't let our night stay a disappointment.
In fact: I related it to Christ... that THAT is the greatest gift he has given us. The opportunity to re-do things. To repent when we make mistakes.
I don't know if my kids will remember last night but I know I will. When we tucked them in the second time and finally tucked ourselves in ... I felt like we had spent some quality time together.