There are so few small children who attend our parish, yet these six children were able to keep this tradition that I recall as a child, alive. That part of their symbolism was very moving for me.
The little people were so excited to be on the cusp of a gift-opening extravaganza that everyone looked at the camera simultaneously. Nobody teased or blinked or frowned. Nobody minded having pictures taken. I wish I'd snapped even more. It may have been the miracle of Christmas in live form.
Not all of us were able to gather for as long as I'd have liked... Poor Gavin was sick. After opening gifts, he was off to find a quite place to rest on Christmas Eve. But don't worry, his jammies were 10-year-old approved.
This year I feel incredibly lucky to indulge in the season a bit longer, without the same kinds of demands on my time as previous years. I'm taking full advantage of it.
So we're still gathering. Gathering ourselves with this sustained Christmas spirit into this new year, gathering our courage, gathering our laughter and humor, gathering our patience and gathering with each other.