The sounds were so faint that I might have dismissed them altogether and drifted back to sleep, but lying in the darkness I knew that I had heard something. I rolled up onto my elbow and strained my ears against the quiet of the house. Robert, sensing my movement, murmured in question to me. "Shhhh . . ." I breathed out as softly as I could.
There it was again.
The clock read 6 am. I rose quietly from the bed and padded across the carpeting to the door. Standing in the doorway of the bedroom peering down the darkened hallway, I listened again.
I turned seeking the warmth of the bed once more when something made me stop. It was just a touch, a small stirring, but I had heard it. One step backwards placed me in the doorway again and I peered around the doorjamb to look into the darkened hall once more. "What is it?" Robert whispered. I waved at him to stay quiet and waited. Slowly another door opened off the hallway and two shadows melted into the empty corridor. Their exaggerated tiptoeing made me purse my lips together to keep from laughing. The one in front reached back to make sure her accomplice was treading closely behind. The one bringing up the rear whispered anxiously to the one in front.
"Do you know what time it is?" I spoke into the darkness just feet behind them. They squealed and jumped as if they had been burned. Immediately the betrayals started. "I told her it was too early to be up!" "No, Mama, we just want to see if presents are under tree. We not going to open anything!" "What time is it? She said we could get up!"
I shooed them back into their beds with a stern warning not to get up again until it was daylight. Fearing the worst, they obediently slipped back into the darkness of their room. Their arguing whispers could be heard from the hall. "I told you so!" "No, you say we can see!" "No, I said it was too early!" I stepped back into my room and covered my mouth so that they would not hear me laughing at them. I was amused and awake by this time, so I made my way to the kitchen where mom was already starting to cook Christmas dinner. I relayed Hannah and Kristina's attempt to sneak a peek under the tree and we had a good laugh. Robert passed through the kitchen and leaned up the stairs to where the boys were sleeping. "Anyone up there want to open presents?" "Robert!" I scolded. "Every one's already up anyway," he shrugged. Everyone made their way to the living room and I went back to the girls' room to summon them in. "What are you guys doing in here? Every one's in the living room to open presents." "Mama!" they protested at my teasing.
They could barely sit still to let me take a few pictures before they opened their gifts. As usual, they all came away with much more than they actually needed. Kristina got a camera and a Gameboy. She alternated between the two throughout the day, never getting bored. The girls built a gingerbread house with grandma later that afternoon. It was a nice low key day with lots to be thankful for.
We pray that all of you had a blessed day and could rejoice with family and friends over the birth of our Saviour. We are thankful for the tremendous blessings He has bestowed upon us and the mercy and grace He has allowed us to walk in as we are blending our family together. Thank you to all of you who have continued to write and leave comments of encouragement for us. It is a blessing to see how God has spoken to many of you through our experience. To God be the glory, great things he hath done!