End of October began our gaze upon the Christmas season. December always comes and goes all too quickly leaving little room for soaking up memories and slowing down. With Christmas Day landing on a Sunday morning, the Howells rearranged events a little to make for a not so high maitience Christmas morning. Our annual Christmas Eve Chinese dinner fell right into place. For 15 years of marriage Kris and I have been loving this tradition with the first dinner in Toccoa Georgia where we went to college. Eating rice with chopsticks and ending with ice cream and gummy bears is manditory. Sitting at the end of the table gave me a great angle to watch our boys visit, laugh, and enjoy. I said it to myself, “they look like teenagers already.” We sang at candlelight remembering Gods great gift in Christ while hot wax dripped on our fingers and wiggly kids looked around at the great lit up room. I love looking into the faces of those holding the candles. All the families represented, each one with a story and traditions of their own. Many stories of heartache and others of great joy. We hurried home to open gifts that night so that our focus Sunday would be on worship and not hoopla. Kris read a Christmas story in true Daddy fashion as we all piled on couches. Special Christmas glasses were brought out and Sparkling Cider was poured over crushed ice. As the kids grow up, the joy becomes less about each individual gift and more about being excited for each other. The most hope I could pull out of our celebration is the truth that celebrating Christ and His coming to earth and his death and resurrection all year long makes Christmas feel purposeful. Growing up, it seemed more like a once a year celebration. Maybe that is because I was a kid and from my perspective waiting for gifts is what made me happy. My hearts desire is that our children would find joy, depth, and truth each day as they celebrate what Christ has done and continues to do. As Christmas Day arrives in their own homes, may it be a reflection the way they live their lives, teach truth to their own families and celebrate our only HOPE.