Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Christmas 2012

 This photo was taken at our ward Christmas party. It was an incredible celebration of Christmas--a real authentic experience. The gym had been transformed into Bethlehem. The cuisine was primarily middle-eastern food and they had a "well" for you to draw your water from to drink. All who were able ate dinner on the floor.

Everyone dressed up as if we lived at the time of Christ's birth. Henry chose to be a sheep weeks before the party. He was so excited and was very specific about how he wanted the ears to look. They had to be white on the outside and pink on the inside. To get this effect without ruining a pair of socks we borrowed Mabel's pink socks and tucked them into a pair of Henry's larger socks and used my headband to hold them in place. It worked.

Henry asked me, just to be sure his costume was appropriate, "Were there sheep back in Jesus' time?"
He was very surprised when he got to the party to see that other kids were not dressed up as animals. It was funny. Theo was a wiseman. He wore true Indian clothes which had been given to us by an Indian friend (Todd's mission companion in India) when Henry was born. HERE are picture of Henry wearing the same clothes, and at a much younger age. It was fun to finally dress Theo in them. And, if I can say so myself, Todd and I looked very much like . . . Mary and Joseph might have. 
I was 38 weeks pregnant and ready to pop!
There was a market and tents for children to play games that children in Jesus' time played. They could even learn to write their name in Hebrew. The Primary children and adult narrators performed the Nativity, and it was precious. We had a wonderful time.

 Instead of sitting on Santa's lap the kids got to visit the wiseman who gave them gifts (a candy cane and other goodies). The wiseman here is our neighbor and good friend, Nick. The boys LOVE Nick. Theo calls him Nicky and pats his cheeks when he sees him.

Side-story about Nick: In church a few months ago Theo spotted Nick across the chapel and started yelling--really yelling--and pointing, "Nicky! Nick! See Nick!" We decided to change seats and move next to Nick so we could maintain the reverence. Nick may or may not have appreciated this move, but he sure is sweet with the boys!

* * * * *

Christmas morning:
 The boys first enjoyed candy, then opened presents. If I hadn't stopped them from eating their candy they would have eaten it ALL, and that would have been bad. 
Note to self: Only give as much as you want them eat at that given time. There is no self-regulation (especially for children) when it comes to eating candy--especially Christmas morning.

 Henry wanted Superman books, a firetruck, and a robot. Theo didn't ask for much, except a new bus. His other bus was loved too much and had fallen apart.

After we opened gifts we enjoyed a french toast breakfast, compliments to our daddy chef. Then we were off to Meadowbrook park. Christmas morning was bright and sunny and not too cold. So, together we enjoyed swinging, climbing, and sliding. 

Perhaps the best part about Christmas for me was being great with child. Mabel was due Christmas Eve. As pregnancy progressed and Christmas neared I felt a kind of kinship with Mary. As I experienced all the usual pains and discomforts I thought of Mary. I imagined how difficult it must have been to be so young, to have to travel a great distance, and give birth in a stable. Oh, how I appreciate her sacrifice!

I also pictured in my mind the beautiful baby that would soon be here and all the joy that she would bring our family. I almost couldn't wait! I reflected on Jesus Christ as a new born baby. How sweet and radiant He must have been. At His birth He brought light and life and hope and love to the world. He brought joy and wondering awe.
As I prepared to receive my sweet daughter I felt joy at His coming and was filled with much gratitude. Gratitude
for the comfort and peace that He provides in times of sorrow
for the healing and cleansing power of the atonement
for the joy that comes by living the principles of His gospel
for happiness in this life and for a hope of good things to come in the next.
For all of this I am grateful to Him.

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