Joy is spending Christmas Eve sharing traditions with my husband. Every year my family travels an hour up the road to spend the evening with my mom’s family. We always meet at the foot of the stairs outside the church my mom grew up in, greeting aunts and uncles and cousins. We file in to the church together, taking in the air of silence as we take up the longest pew in the sanctuary, each year seeming a little more crowded as we grow (in number and in girth).

After taking communion together, we head back to Bo and Jody’s house (this year, to MayMay and PaPa’s house, which now belongs to Bo and Jody), where they have inevitably outdone themselves. The house is always decorated with charm, and you can count on hearing either Bing Crosby or the Grinch.

Then comes the dinner. Smoked turkey and ham, casseroles and salads and oh so much more. Cheese biscuits and cheese balls and for variety, a cheese platter. We drink and eat and laugh and eat. We pass babies around, then we pass the pie. We share stories and jokes and memories. And everything, from the food to the family to the worn pink couches we gather around for a group photo, just feels like joy.



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