Therefore we must be normal!

My family has been accused of being normal from time to time. I don't recall anyone actually making that accusation of me personally. At our house normal equals dull and that is an insult.

I understand that people who use that term on us do so in innocence. They see us as a family with all adult kids excitedly doing things together. The automatic association is with some iconic 1950's family television show. Hence the association with normal. That is forgivable.

Please allow me to set the record straight.

On Christmas Eve, when normal people are out in droves getting gifts for that hard to buy for person on their list, we are home having Reuben sandwiches and competing in our annual Night Before Christmas poetry contest!

There is deep meaning and symbolism associated with the Reubens. First they are yummy! Second, we like them. Third, it is a fairly easy, fun way to feed a big group without spending a lot of time. Okay, so maybe deep and symbolic were overstatements. We do Reubens because they are fun and easy.

The Night Before Christmas poetry contest, however, is, well, is not really deep either. In fact, it's not a contest at all. And it doesn't have to be poems. We simply set that time as the end of preparation and the beginning of celebrating the birth of our Savior.

I started this tradition several years back, because it was far too easy to fill up all our time with cooking, and baking, and putzing about with random, endless preparations. No more! When the Reubens hit the skillet, the Eagles gather like … well, like vultures. (Now, there's a lovely metaphor!) It is like the bell at the beginning of the prize fight, the shot to start a race, the lines being thrown from the dock to launch the ship … Well, you get the picture.

After we feast on Reuben sandwiches, we crowd into the living room and share our poetic creations. Some of which are not poems at all. Rumor has it, this year will include a fire poi show. (outdoors, of course) Take that on the nose, Normal!

So, for clarity I am including a submission of mine from a couple of years back.

Bethlehem Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas in Bethlehem town, the villagers were clueless to what was going down

Too busy to reach out, unwitting decline, they missed their own meeting with the Divine

That town was abustle with relatives aplenty, the homes were all full the Inns held too many

The town square was packed with travelers from afar, 'Cause for taxes a census was forced by Caesar

The travelers and towns folks with great consternation, were oppressed by the Roman army occupation

Yet one traveler was troubled beyond all the others, a pregnant young girl far from midwife or mother

They'd traveled too far all the lodgings were proffered, a cave hewn from stone was best they were offered

A shelter for cattle 'cause all else was taken, there history was made and creation was shaken

The Word became flesh, reaching out to His own, redemption was offered from God's Holy Throne

Eternal life freely to all has been given, the humble receive, repenting, are forgiven

Some history repeats it is said by the wise, tonight looks like it could be one of those times

Tis the night before Christmas in this little town, so many are clueless to what's going down

Too busy to reach out, unwitting decline, they missed their own meeting with the Divine

- RV Hodge   2012