As I lay in bed on Christmas Eve, I considered the Christmas holidays and how Christians often spend them. On the following morning, after we read the Christmas story (and the kids eagerly anticipated their gifts), I shared my thoughts. What if we threw a birthday party for Andrew. We all knew it was Andrew's birthday, and we were happy that he was in our midst. We were glad to be together to celebrate his birthday. However, the whole group of people brought gifts for only Brooke and Wesley. We all played mom and dad's favorite games; we ate Wesley's favorite foods. Yes, the party was in Andrew' honor and we gave him a moment of attention, but our main enthusiasm was for all of the "stuff for us." I think we can all relate. As Christians, we know that Jesus is the reason for the season, but how we spend our Christmas just puts this special guest in the "corner" of our celebrations.
I pray for myself, my family, and all of my friends, that we are able to place the Lord as our first priority, on Christmas and in every day.
As I know so many of our family will not be able to share a Christmas with us, so far away in California, let me share some of our family traditions and events from this Christmas 2009:
Though it is a blurry picture, we spend much time enjoying the video games. Thanks to all of our distant family for contributing to that activity. Below you can see the three guys playing Mario Kart.
This is my second year directing the children's handbell choir at our church. They performed in both services on Sunday morning. As you look at the faces, you can see how hard they had to concentrate on the music. Next year, I am going to work on making sure they can think and smile at the same time.
On Christmas Eve, we all enjoy the many finger foods that sit out all afternoon and evening. We also attend our church's Christmas Eve service. The bell choir played again in this service.
Wesley's class put on a special chapel, re-creating the Christmas story. Wesley was one of the three magi.
The 4th and 5th graders at VMS had a Christmas program. Wesley played a shepherd. See if you can find him in the group picture below. I must admit, I had a hard time locating him :)
To count down the December days until Christmas, the kids get to open a pocket of their advent calendar each morning. Some days they find a small gift; some days they find candy; other days, the pocket is filled with a notecard stating an event that we will be doing that day.
Trimming the Tree: Every year, day after Thanksgiving, we decorate our Christmas tree. Every year, the kids get a new ornament to add to their collection.