I hope all of you had a blessed Christmas celebration and time to truly enjoy the spirit of the season!
This Christmas we drove down to the Pittsburgh area to celebrate the holiday with my Grandma and Aunt Michelle and Uncle J.
We drove down on Saturday and hit the front end of a record snow storm in Erie. We had white out conditions from about 10 miles north of Erie down through Meadville, PA and were so thankful to just have rain to contend with on the remainder of the drive. Erie broke the Pennsylvania snow fall record in a 30 hour time frame over Christmas when they received over 53 inches – 37 of which were on Christmas alone!
Saturday we stopped in Pittsburgh to walk through their German Christmas market and we bought a beautiful classic Nutcracker from the Kathe Wohlfahrt stand. This is a company we love and have supported for years from when my dad would first go to Germany for work when I was a kid. We also stopped at one of the Primanti Bros. locations for lunch and enjoyed the people watching and hearty food. After lunch, since the weather was still so wet and snow was expected, we drove to my Grandma’s house where she had her stuffed shells going for dinner – it’s a family favorite recipe! My Aunt and Uncle came over too and it was just a good night with family.
Sunday we went to church for the fourth Sunday of Advent in the morning and we loved Father Canise and his homily! He focused on how amazing it is that Mary said YES to God and his asking her to be his mother. He also shared the theology of how God revealed his master plan to the angels before the creation of the world and how the split occurred because Lucifer could not worship a humble God that would ask Mary to be born and honor him through serving as his mother. It was such a rich homily! After Mass we went back to Grandma’s for a bit before joining my Aunt and Uncle who were hosting my Uncle’s side of the family for Christmas Eve. I really enjoyed meeting all of them and joining in their Christmas celebration!
Christmas morning we woke up and went to Christmas Mass which Father Canise led again and he offered another amazing homily on how Jesus is fully human and fuy God, and the lineage that lined up to create both. He especially spoke about how family can be messy and hard, but we’re not alone, just look at the family tree of Jesus and the mess and the pain there, and how Jesus chose them anyway to fulfill the prophecy given David about his lineage and legacy. It was such a rich homily and I really appreciate the work that Father Canise put into both of his homilies I was able to hear while he visited my Grandma’s church. After church we openened presents and my aunt came over tafternoon and we all just relaxed and enjoyed time together, and delicious left over stuffed shells for dinner. They’re one of everyone’s favorites!
The day after Christmas we decided to venture into Pittsburgh and hit The Strip district to visit some of the fun shops there. We got specialty meats and cheeses, fun flavored popcorn, spices, teas, and enjoyed people watching and exploring. I’m glad my aunt went with us because she was an amazing guide to show us around! After we finished our shopping, we headed out to visit my PapPap and wish him a Merry Christmas. He’s buried in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies and I hadn’t been before. It was beautiful, especially with all the wreaths laid at every grave. I miss my PapPap a lot, and it was nice to go see him. We felt his spirit a lot this Christmas which was so comforting!
The following day we went over to my aunt’s house in the morning to see my cousins and their kids. I love that I’ve gotten to see them twice in 2017, after not having seen them in years before. I want to build a stronger relationship with them, since that opportunity wasn’t really available when were younger just due to geography and very limited visits. That afternoon while the kids napped and my aunt got time with her kids, William and I walked around downtown Beaver which was such a fun little downtown with cute specialty shops and fun restaurants. On our way back to my Grandma’s, after stopping in Moon for the best peirogis, we visited the cemetery where my Pappy, Great Aunt Rose, Great Uncle Bert, and a set of my Great-Grandparents are buried. We only visited Pappy, Aunt Rosie and Uncle Bert, because trying to find my Great-Grandparents in that cold did not seem worth it – I’ll make sure to tell them hello this summer! It was nice to be able to wish Pappy a happy Christmas and New Year’s and an early happy birthday. That night we went back to my Aunt’s for dinner and time with my cousins and their kids. I loved being able to love on the babies and be entertained by the toddlers who are best friends. Their love and enthusiasm was precious!
It was a very full Christmas spent with family and I enjoyed the time to really soak in the relationships and love and enjoy being together. Church was also really good over the holiday which was so nice to really center on the best parts of Christmas – family and faith.
How was your Christmas?