At first I wasn't looking forward to this Christmas quite as much since none of the Plumb family were really going to be together - Mom in Utah, Dad/Annie in California, Max in Austria, Sam in Nevada, and Jack/Peanut in Omaha. It felt weird to not be spending the day as I've always spent it with my parents and siblings and to be so spread out.
It was an even more wonderful Christmas than usual, I think. I have tender feelings about the day - my children were loved and taken care of by their aunts, uncles, and grandparents in Lincoln; we were blessed with gifts from family all over the country; we shared happy moments and played games and watched movies and just really, fully enjoyed the day together. Jack came up halfway through the day and it was so nice to spend time with him too, and to have my in-laws get to know him a little better. I can't adequately put into words how I feel but as I sit here with my beautiful children asleep in their beds and some calm Christmas background music, reflecting about our day, I am just feeling so grateful and loved and warm and blessed. Thank you, Poulsens, for a really special Christmas.
We got to talk to our missionary siblings near and far - first Max called from Salzburg and we became Skype experts as we figured out how to connect our sprawling family in the same video feed. Eventually Sam chimed in and we added him, making it five computers in two countries and four states, all at the same glorious time! How fun that Sam and Max could see each other and swap mission bro stats, while the rest of us could bask in our family togetherness. I called Jack in Omaha so he could be involved too - definitely a family affair.
|(for the record, "Lane Johnson" was the host, haha, it's still definitely Sam in the picture)|
I am grateful for every gift that we received (and all the gifts that our children were given - being a parent on Christmas is like quadruple the swag!) but there are three in particular that I want to remember. The first seems simple: a Barnes and Noble gift card for Austin from my parents, but it symbolizes their support and love for my husband and our marriage and I am so glad they have embraced him into our family and know him well enough to know that books are his absolute favorite thing. I love my parents.
Second: Austin's Grandma Poulsen gave us a beautifully framed painting called "I Would Gather Thee" of a hen wrapping her wings around her chicks. Here is the artist's inspiration: On the night before Jesus was crucified, He went to the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem with His disciples. As He sat looking down on the city and people He loved, He lamented, "...how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" Matthew 23:37. I love this painting and will be reminded every time I see it of the love our Savior has for us, and His desire to protect us.
|different frame, but you get the picture|
Christmas 2014 was unstressful, unhurried, and, at least for me, a little more uncommercialized than usual. I really felt the spirit this month and am looking forward to continuing to make the upcoming year focused on Christ. My heart is full of love and gratitude - Merry Christmas, indeed!