In the company of children

Our son and his son enjoy their Christmas tree, December 2013.

Our son and his son enjoy their Christmas tree, December 2013.

“Christmas Day in the company of children is one of the few occasions on which men become entirely alive.”Robert Lynd

This quote sounds charming, but I couldn’t help but laugh a little to recall how exhausted Jeff and I used to be during the years when Santa would visit our sons.  It always seemed that we were up half the night assembling toys, filling stockings and taking care of all the last minute preparations that couldn’t be done until the boys were soundly asleep. Just when we would think we were finished, there would be the dreaded “Hey, we forgot about ….” Even if we were entirely alive on Christmas Day, I doubt we were entirely awake!

Nevertheless, there’s nothing like the excitement of a child at Christmas.  Our adorable next-door neighbor in Alexandria, who started kindergarten this year, was telling me with wonder how she went to see Santa, and HE KNEW HER NAME!!  I told her that Santa was an exceptionally smart guy.  Talking with her about old St. Nick was almost enough to make me want to sit down and write him a wish list myself.

Of course, Christmas Eve is the most magical night of the season, and I have such happy memories of the times during childhood when I went to sleep with “visions of sugarplums” dancing in my head.  Even now that I’m an adult who is VERY grateful to be old enough to sleep soundly on Christmas Eve, something of the delight remains, and it’s still my favorite day of the year.

Today, I wish you the ability to see Christmas through the eyes of a child…whether your own young ones, your children’s children, your neighbors or friends, or the child who is still very much alive in all of us.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

One year ago today

Joy shall be yours


  1. Larry

    Throughout the years, the magic in the eyes of a child is always brighter on Christmas eve. Grady is now bringing joy to all of us as his first Christmas is just hours away. Sadie is waiting for Santa for the first time also. Keep that camera shutter clicking! Memories like these come only once. Merry Christmas from Tennessee. We love you all.

    • Thank you Larry, love to all our Tennessee family and friends, and hope Sophie’s first Christmas is extra merry!

  2. merry

    Merry Christmas, Julia. May you and your family enjoy a bless Christmas!

    • Thank you, Merry! I wish the same for you and your family.

  3. Judy from Pennsylvania

    Oh, an absolutely endearing, captivating photo! Perfect for showing Christmas Eve’s enchantment. It keeps drawing me back to gaze at it for yet another time. For me too, Christmas has always been more about Christmas Eve than it has Christmas Day. The Eve is peaceful and deeply meaningful with singing the old hymns at church and with passing the light between our candles at the end of the service, so that all the church is lit in the darkness only by our candles as we sing one last hymn. Beautiful, beautiful. Christmas Day was always fun and noisy and full of smiles, clutter and children’s busyness. A good day but a day of coming down from all the excitement of the previous weeks and days.

    Now that the children are grown and scattered, Christmas Eve has stayed the same for us and Christmas Day has become simple and calm. Just hubby and I will be here at home enjoying one another with our opened gifts displayed beneath the lit tree, Christmas music floating through the house, and the joy of phone call connections to our children and grandchildren. But tonight, Christmas Eve, remains the most sweet and tender part of Christmas for the now elderly us.

    • Judy, as I sit here after midnight this Christmas Eve (which I guess makes it technically Christmas, but still the enchantment that comes before Christmas morning) I really enjoyed reading your descriptions, which sound familiar in many ways. Our neighborhood here in York County does luminaries on Christmas Eve, which adds to the peaceful beauty. I agree, Christmas Day is such a welcome feeling of abundance and peace. Thanks for sharing the gift of your beautiful thoughts and images with me this quiet “silent night.” I wish you and your husband a beautiful holiday, the kind I hope and pray that Jeff and I can share for many more years!

  4. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. It’s exciting now that Christmas Eve is here and we’ll be able to finish up last minute details. Merry Christmas to all that have commented, encouraged, shared ideas, offered other blogs, much information and shared love, hope and faith. The love of family here has been heartwarming, as I recall the support of Eric, Carla and Mr.Carlyle, to name a few. Merry Christmas….. 🙂 Sheila

    • Sheila, I join you in wishing the most wonderful Christmas to all who have become part of our online family here. You have been spreading cheer here for almost the entire time and do really feel as if you are one of the family! Until we meet in person — the best of everything to you and your loved ones! Joy to the world!

  5. Rene

    That is a precious photo! What a blessing for you & Jeff to be able to share in that “wonder”ful moment!

    • Thank you Rene! We are so thankful Megan snapped that delightful photo. What a joy to have them with us tonight! Grady spent Christmas Eve morning sleeping in with his MeMe and PaPa in their bed! Fun for everyone. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  6. MaryAnn

    Julia!!! What a delightful shot of Drew & Grady! God blessed me with “my” Denton Family. Please give my love to all of them. A special hug for my Matthew!

    • Thank you Mary Ann! We miss you and wish you a wonderful Christmas!!!

  7. Jenelle

    Julia, once again one of your posts comes at the perfect time. I’ve been battling what I thought was a head cold or allergies, but today I think it’s turned into a full blown sinus infection. Being jolly the past week has been more difficult than usual. But I desperately want to see Christmas through the eyes of a child this year and I’m going to pray my way through today and tomorrow that I will do so despite physically feeling blah. With the Lord’s help, I can overcome letting my physical blahness affect my spiritual joy. Thank you so much!

    • Jenelle, I just wrote you a long response and somehow accidentally deleted it when I tried to send it – GRRRR!!! The short version is that I’m so sorry you are sick, and hope you feel better soon – thanks for taking the time to be with us despite feeling ill. I wish you all the best in 2014!

  8. Carolyn

    Merry Christmas to my special friends. I’m so happy that Jeff is home and Grady is visiting with you. We will be off to David’s later today for food and games and then home for , I hope a good nights rest, and then back to their house in the morning. We usually spent the night with them but since I have the shingles, my nights have not been great. I’ll do better at home. Josh is ready for Santa. Wish we all could be together but maybe next year. Julia I will get you some pictures one day. I need help doing it. You all have a great time together and give Grady a hug for me. Hugs and love to all.

    • Thank you Carolyn! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. I am so sorry you continue to have problems with shingles, what a difficulty. I hope you will be feeling better next year and able to indulge in your traditional overnight! Love to you and your family – Merry Christmas!

  9. Debbie

    What a wonderful picture, so glad you are home for the holidays. I hope Jeff is getting stronger every day. My dear husband just left to admit someone to the hospital, I feel so sorry for those who have to spend Christmas there. Merry Christmas and I hope 2014 is a terrific year for your family.

    • Thank you Debbie, we are feeling so thankful to NOT be at the hospital on Christmas. The dedication of all the doctors and staff there is touching. They almost don’t seem to know when the holidays are, because they are all there, working at all hours. I’m sure you are familiar with that. Thank God for their willingness to be there for those of us who need them no matter when that time comes. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and new year! Thanks for being with us here.

  10. The baby looks cute. Hugs to your little one. Celebrations are fun only when there are kids to add to the joy. They know how to be happy just for the sake of being so. Wish you a wonderful Christmas!

    • Bindu, I think the baby is adorable, but I cannot be impartial 🙂 . It has been so much fun having Grady here today – and yes, he is happy just to be here, very jolly and laughing almost all day long. That alone was enough to make a wonderful Christmas, and being all together was a very joyous occasion after all Jeff has been through recently. I hope you have a great Christmas too, and thank you for being here!

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