Not a creature is stirring this morning.
Years ago, my sisters and I would be up and at 'em on Christmas morning, the youngest one jumping in the parents' bed (by far, the best technique to rouse two exhausted adults) and us two older girls combing through the carefully wrapped packages to determine our first strike.
Fast forward, oh, 20 years or so, and this morning I am left to my own devices while all the grown-ups (even those of us who were once children) stay warm and snuggly in their beds.
The meaning of Christmas has changed quite a bit for me.
As a kid, it meant hoisting up itchy kilts and scratchy woolen sweaters for Mass. Christmas meant amassing piles and piles of toys and books and clothes (and the ever treasured Whitney Houston tape - how will I know, indeed). The holiday was an occasion for gastronomic decadence, complete with Christmas cookies in red and green sugar crystals and silver dragee balls, fudge and the most amazing confections between two layers of pie crust.
These days, Christmas is less about the pile of presents beneath the tree and more about loving the people exchanging those treasures. Now, Christmas is about reliving the memories and remembering those loved ones who aren't able to join us around the fireplace - I love and adore you, baby.
Speaking of my niece, these days, my Christmas is about reflecting on the blessings we've each been given, no matter how fleeting.
Every day I am grateful for the gifts God has given me - and today I am blessed to celebrate Christ's birth.