Every night of December, every year, we light advent candles and read scripture and open a door on our nativity calendar. Then every night we all sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and blow out the candles. It's just one of those things. The kids love their traditions. And the best night of all is Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve we go to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church, then we come home, pile into the barn, and do our advent stuff one last time, cuddled close and shivering in a cold barn, with only candlelight to read the Christmas story by. The kids listen as Derek reads the nativity story, and then we all sing to Jesus until it is way past bedtime and time to crawl into cozy warm beds. We were wondering what Gideon and Micah were going to think of this strangeness. Gideon rocked and stimmed a bit, as he always does when he is not sure what is going on, but for the most part he really went with the flow very well.
Micah, however, objected strenuously and at full volume, so I'm not really sure how much of the story the kids actually heard this year. Micah does not like for things to be different. He just takes a while to warm up to new ideas.
But eventually, sweet boy lost steam and sulked quietly so we could finish the evening with a little less drama.
Our finished Advent calendar:
Blowing out the candles for Jesus:
And on Christmas morning, we awoke to a white world outside. Here in western Washington, we don't see a lot of this stuff, so the kids were pretty excited.
Our big gift to the kids this year was a whole new room. Derek and I moved out of our master bedroom and squeezed into another smaller room upstairs, and we have been remodeling the master bedroom to transform it into a therapy/play room. It is not completely done, but definitely impressive enough to present to the kids this morning. Here is a brief glimpse of our enthusiastic crew seeing the new space:
I was really not expecting this:
Don't you just love that happy giggle?
I couldn't believe he liked this!
And Gideon sat and watched this car go around and around
for half the afternoon:
My darling Blessing was tuckered out
after being dragged out of bed so early,
so she napped the afternoon away.
My girl loves a good nap.
So today, as we are overflowing with blessings, I think back on our family at this time last year. Scattered across the world. Uncertain. Hopeful. Waiting. I think of Derek and I, dashing out the door, on a mission. Going, and trusting God, because he told us to go. I think of leaving behind our precious ones, to go into an unknown place to gather up the rest of our precious ones. And I think of Jesus, being sent into a world that was dark and uncertain. Leaving his throne behind in order to come and rescue his precious ones. I am rejoicing that He made that sacrifice for us today. I am so very glad that He loved us, that He chose to adopt us, that He gave up so very much, to rescue us. Isn't He beautiful?