Thursday, December 18, 2008


Aside from the shopping and decorations, there are two things that signal the arrival of Christmas for me. One is attending a Christmas concert at church that focuses on the real meaning of this most wonderful holiday.

Andrew Peterson and friends brought special music that ushered in the season for me Wednesday night as our family enjoyed "Behold the Lamb of God" at Meck. Along with some of Caedmon's Call's musicians, Jill Phillips, Andy Gullahorn and Bebo Norman, these talented artists manage to convey the fascinating tale of God's Son's humble arrival as baby, yet Savior, in a way that captivates me. Somehow, Peterson has successfully captured the complex simplicity of God's redemptive plan with his unique musical style and lyrical genius.

It was our second year attending the concert, and my hope is that the tour will keep coming to Charlotte. If you haven't heard Peterson's music, you can check it out at:

The second signal that Christmas is really here for me is our family gathering with our friends, the Poteats. It used to be the Poteat/Broome Christmas dinner. Now, it's the Poteat/Broome/Bizzell/Gompers/Summerville Christmas dinner.

Melanie (Foushee) Poteat became my closest friend in 7th grade. We were innocently devious girls--scared to do anything too risky, but thrill-seeking nonetheless. When we ran out of legitimate pastimes, we spent lots of late evenings making prank telephone calls that were much more original than the old Sir Walter Raleigh in a can gags.

We called people we knew, changed our voices, and sold imaginary products, signed up one of our teachers with a free membership to Weight Watchers, established a phony phone friendship with a woman named Fanny Pansy after finding there was person with such an unfortunate name in the telephone book, and called a Taxi to a neighbor's house in the middle of the night--(that one may have crossed the line, but oh the fun of seeing the old gentleman across the street in his undies at 2 a.m. telling the cab to go away). We were bored and there was no Caller ID. What can I say?

Anyway, Melanie was in my wedding and I was in hers. Our husbands became friends (which was a prerequisite for our marriages to them). Not really, but it was helpful. A few years later, Melanie had her first child just four months after Leslie was born. Leslie and Ashley have been lifelong friends. Next, I had David and she had Amber who were pals throughout their childhoods.

Through the years we have celebrated, vacationed, laughed and cried together, but one of our most important traditions is our annual Christmas dinner (always on Christmas Eve before our children were adults).

This year, we were all able to gather at my house for laughs, hugs and love, and only one important thing changed--Jim, Melanie's very funny husband, didn't read "How Come Christmas?". It was the first time since our tradition was established that we missed Jim's dramatic interpretation of the delightful story. I wish every person I know had the privilege of hearing him read the book--it is a priceless experience, but sadly, our party had to break up too soon and it just didn't happen.

It's disappointing when something that is familiar AND important changes, but we were still blessed by the opportunity to celebrate Christmas and these many years of enduring friendship last night.

To still have my junior high dearest friend in my life is a great blessing. I love her family--even the newer additions that include two great young men who are now her sons-in-law. The newest addition however, is my favorite! She's a brown-haired beauty weighing in at about 7 1/2 pounds, and she is the spittin' image of an angel (I'm convinced). I'm thrilled that Melanie and I can share the joys of Grammy and Nana-hood, and that during this busy season our children and their spouses wouldn't miss the chance to keep our Poteat/Broome Christmas tradition.'s really Christmas.

Ava Grace opening her surprise at the party!

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