We are balanced on the delicate edge of excitement and losing our minds here, in the House of Nuts. With five boys under the age of 10 having endured four weeks of building up to this moment - Christmas Eve - there is a simmering awareness that the least thing could ignite the powder keg, causing them to spontaneously combust, taking us Big Nuts with them in a haze of giddy insanity.
It's a difficult task, curbing their enthusiasm without extinguishing their wonder and joy, but a necessary one, because they can't maintain the high level of excitement without burning out. And frankly, we can't endure it any more than they can.
How wise the Church is to guide us throughout the year, giving us periods of fasting, preparation, celebrating, and ordinariness. We need all of them, in balance, in their proper time. We have had four weeks of Advent - a time of waiting and preparation - and now, at last, Christmas is upon us!
I've felt a great deal of trepidition about this one. It's The First One without Pop, and if you had asked me four weeks ago, I would have preferred to not do it at all, thank you very much. However, the intervening time has brought some peace. Most of all I've come to accept that I don't miss him any less because we're still celebrating Christmas. It's ok that I'm not miserable without him. It's taken a year to come to this point - a very long Advent.
Christmas is about hope and promises fulfilled. My Christmas wish for you, dear reader, is that you will experience the truth of that over the next 12 days.
A most blessed Christmas season to you and yours from the Lighthouse.