Mom never simplified any part of our ritual as our family Christmas grew each year along with the size of The Work, as my parents called L’Abri. My mother interpreted the growing flood of guests as “evidence of God’s blessing” and just stayed up later and later until finally she was staying up for seventy-two hours straight and had turned the entire Christmas season into a cheerful martyrdom. By the time I was seven or eight, our Christmas guests included fifteen or so people besides my family. The stocking opening ritual in my parents’ small chalet bedroom, with everyone in their pajamas since this was a “family time,” evolved into a crowded and awkward marathon. As the number of guests grew, we nevertheless kept our family tradition and took turns opening our gifts one at a time.
eBook My Very Personal Happy Christmas Story