The last couple of years Christmas has been all about changes. For years, I could tell you how Christmas would be celebrated at our home… a few days before Christmas, my parents would come, Christmas Eve morning the sisters would exchange gifts (this tradition started because they could not wait to open gifts), Christmas Eve brought church and then a house filled with family and friends for food and celebration. Christmas day brought more good food, sweet time with our family,and the joy of giving and receiving gifts.
But life is filled with changes, 2 of our daughters are now married and the 3rd is engaged to be married. They are now blessed with their husband’s families to celebrate with and are creating their own Christmas traditions. Another change is that this is the first time in my life that I will not be with my parents on Christmas Day – a recent surgery and illness will keep them away this year. I will miss their presence in our home more than I can express.
I have to be honest that sometimes I long for the way it was for so many years – but I know that life is filled with changes. Children grow up and create their own homes and traditions. It is healthy and good and sometimes it hurts a little. It is fulfilling when I see them doing the things we did in our home – baking cookies, entertaining, decorating their homes, wrapping presents together and focusing on the birth of our Savior. I would go back and do it all again if I could.
I am so thankful for the Christmas Celebrations our family has enjoyed throughout the years. I have precious memories of many happy, precious times. Now, I am so thankful for our son-in-laws who love our daughters and who together are creating their own Christmas traditions. I want to be gracious as I continue to learn to let go of “how it use to be”, but I know that I am going to mess up at times. I pray that I will learn to accept and enjoy our new family traditions. I have so much to be thankful for!
Christmas will be different this year – we are going to a friend’s home on Christmas Eve and our family will all be together on Christmas Day. There will be many familiar aspects as we celebrate the day – gift giving, good food, much laughter and yet there will be missing people (my parents and our son-in-law who is deployed). There will be a 1 1/2 year-old grandson who will bring great joy and an engaged couple who are counting the days until June.
Yet, there is one aspect of Christmas that never changes – the fact that Emmanuel, God with us, came to be our Savior at Christmas. I pray that you will know the presence of God with you in whatever changes your Christmas will bring this year.
A Joseph Family Christmas Tradition that we will have on Christmas Day instead of Christmas Eve this year…
Mocha Punch is a Christmas Tradition at our home. It is always served in my Grandmother’s Punch Bowl and is a favorite year after year.
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 cup instant chocolate drink mix
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup instant coffee granules
- 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
- 1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
- Chocolate curls, optional
- In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add drink mix, sugar and coffee; stir until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- About 30 minutes before serving, pour mixture into a large punch bowl. Add ice cream by scoopfuls; stir until partially melted.
- Garnish with dollops of whipped cream and chocolate curls if desired. Yield: 20-25 servings (about 5 quarts).
Just a reminder that to be sure to use decaffeinated coffee if you are serving this in the evening. One year I did not and no one got much sleep on Christmas Eve (our girls remember that as the night Audrianna kept them up all night long).