Christmas may be over, but the memories collected during the visits to families, having strangers in need come and be a part of the Christmas of so many, and meeting new relatives for the very first time.

In our case, we had our families here for Christmas, and it was wonderful. There was lots to eat, time to visit, much laughter.

There was prayer. Prayer for a pastor and her family, who traveled to another state where a sister is in a battle with cancer. And for another pastor who couldn’t go with his wife there, needing to head north where he pastors a church and be there for that special Sunday service.

There were other prayers in our heads and hearts. Prayers for a person close to us, that her heart will heal, as well as her mind, and God will truly find a way in and let the pain out. That she will discover His presence and be set free.

And for others we know to be ill or too doggone far away.

Yet we also felt peace and praise. The family gathered. Three sons, two daughters, their spouses. A daughter-in-law’s wonderful mom and dad. A majority of our grandchildren, and we sure missed the others. And now, our little great-grandboy. Not yet a year old.

Next year Evan will be that. In fact, just seven days into the new year. And this little boy has not been taught the naughty and nasty side of life. He is like a little angel come to visit and remind us what life is truly about. He made us laugh. He taught us to forget rushing about, and come sit a spell, and just hold him.

While we worried about all those rights, you know the ones, the right gifts, the right wrapping, the right card, those sorts of things, he was just to busy being. Just being. Living and laughing and loving.

Playing some with gifts, but loving maybe most the big ol’ empty rough and tumble box that seemed to amuse and amaze this new child in our life.

I first met him at the recent business expo. He was with his mommy and grandma and I fell in love with a little boy’s beautiful blue eyes. I hadn’t seen him much since, busy with work, preparing for holidays, taking time to just crash after too many days in a row.

Friday, he taught me much. We went to a son’s and shared a night of our lives surrounded by family. He smiled at me. I was surprised he didn’t laugh right out loud at some of the funny faces I was making, and the slightly amusing one I seem to have even when I’m not.

I looked into his beautiful blue eyes again, and his little hands reached out with no words, but saying so loud and clear, “Take me.” I did and he didn’t cry. I was a stranger, but he didn’t care. It wasn’t I hoping to hold him, it was a little boy not quite one reaching out as though wanting to hold me.

The same thing happened on Christmas. And the bond between baby and a great-grandma grew right into love. Same held true with his relationship with his great-grandpa. The little guy has lived here only a short, short time, but it feels as though he’s been part of our lives forever.

And Sunday, surrounded by family from far and near, checking the heights of the grandkids there on last year’s ink marks on the back of the bedroom door, seeing which had grown most, and known they’d all grown lots.

They, the grandkids be they near or far away, are the loves of our lives, as is the newest kid on the block, this little great-grand.

His name is Evan. Short for heaven, methinks. And yet, I know, a short way down the road it won’t be long until the little thinker will turn into a … you guessed it, I’m sure. After all, he has a great-grandpa living in this house where family comes to visit, and little great-grand will undoubtedly inherit that claim to fame from his great-gramps. From thinker to stinker, in the blink of an eye.