What I Did On My Christmas Vacation (Instead Of Have A Baby) Part 1

Still here. Not complaining this fact. We got to do a lot of fun things, and got to get a lot of viruses suffered, before Baby arrived. I like how Thanksgiving opens up the Christmas season for us, allowing for 6 good weeks of celebration and thought. The carols were especially meaningful to me this year, maybe because of the pregnancy but likely just because I was slowing down a bit to really listen to the words:

nails spear shall pierce Him through
the cross be borne for me, for you

radiant beams from Thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace

What a rich heritage we have in these timeless hymns. Get to know them now; we’ll be singing them for eternity!
School’s out until February, giving me time to settle into a routine with a newborn again. I am not happy with the work we did not get done before our last day, but this is partly due to illnesses and things out of my control. December has been a month of sickness, unfortunately, but gives us hope we can weather the winter much stronger. One of the things we missed was our monthly classic book club, in which we were supposed to read Mary Poppins, by P.T. Travers. I started reading it to the children the second week of December, but didn’t expect to finish it in time for our meeting with the other families. Turns out I didn’t want to finish this book; I didn’t like it! The original Mary Poppins character is so self-centered and rude that I am actually grateful the person my children are most familiar with is a Disney fabrication! [This may be the only time I ever compliment Disney this highly, so take note] We’ll stick with the movie version, and forget all about the original, thank you. Even though we missed the meeting due to illness and lack of interest in the book, we eagerly look forward to getting back into the swing of things in January, with the A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett.
The first weekend of December our church puts on a community outreach called Experience Bethlehem. Tours are offered that go through different scenes from the Christmas story, then in the gym an elaborate town of Bethlehem is set up, with shops to peruse, a children’s angel choir singing, and in the back, a stable of animals with Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus in residence. Many years Luke, I, and our newest baby have filled these roles, but this year we did not. The kids did participate in the angel choir, and Luke played his guitar in one of the booths. I stayed home with those too little to have a part, which turned out to be very relaxing. Attendance at the event was over 1100 people; hopefully many heard the gospel message clearly and will make a decision to follow Christ if they have not, as a result of being at Experience Bethlehem.
For the past few years, Luke has been the one to plan and shop for the kids’ Christmas gifts, and has really enjoyed it. This year he got the boys Nerf dart guns, with the hopes of organizing Nerf wars with friends and family in the coming year. This was an exciting highlight that made it hard to keep quiet about for a few more weeks until Christmas. When the time came to wrap our presents, we realized we had run out of tape and almost run out of paper. It made for some interesting-looking packages under the tree! What you can do with contact paper strips and old posters…