The countdown is on.  It’s official.  There are now only six days until Christmas.  I had hoped to cross a lot off my list this past weekend but instead, I found myself doing something most unusual – actually enjoying the holiday season. 

It started on Thursday night, at our office Christmas party.   I’m very lucky in that I really like my job and I really like the people I work with -- which I suppose is why I stayed out far too late and opted for that extra glass of wine instead of scurrying home to wrap gifts. 
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On Friday night, my husband and I went on a date.  It had been planned for a while and, as you likely know, dates are mission-critical to a good marriage  -- which is mission-critical to raising five (hopefully good!) kids so, although that pile of gifts was still begging to be wrapped, out we went.  

On Saturday, we had not one but TWO local Christmas parties to attend. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but we were off the social circuit for a few years.  I think people just assumed that we wouldn’t be able to leave the house with three newborns and two toddlers in tow– or, worse yet, afraid that we would!  Either way, we spent several Christmas seasons searching the mailbox for invitations that never came.  Now that they have arrived, so too have we; after a brief hiatus, we are back on the social scene and very happy to be there!

The merriment continued on Sunday at our church’s annual pageant; our oldest, seven-year old Liam, was cast as one of the three kings.  Poor Liam had perhaps enjoyed too many Christmas cookies at the aforementioned parties and spent much of late Saturday night and early Sunday morning praying to the porcelain god; the poor fella was so sick that we considered rewriting history and suggesting the pageant go on with only two kings.  But alas, like a Christmas miracle, Liam perked up, popped on his costume and marched down the aisle, bearing those gifts as this weepy Mom was overcome, once again, with emotion.

What is it about children singing Silent Night or Oh Holy Night that starts the tear ducts flowing?  Is it their youthful innocence? Was it the fact that I was surrounded by our other four kids, my parents and grandparents and thinking of just how lucky I am – we are – to have each other this holiday season?  Or was it the knowledge that the clock was ticking and I was now in a race against time to finish wrapping those darn gifts, writing the cards, baking the cookies and planning our Christmas Eve dinner?!

I think the was the former, not the latter.  I think it was the realization that with less than a week before Christmas, I already have what matters most.  Family, friends, yes, even a small suburban social life!