We've been preparing for the celebration of Christ's birth all month. And I've been thinking about Mary and how she felt as a very pregnant woman, traveling by donkey at the end of her pregnancy. (I was very pregnant in 1997 and again in 2000 with my girls, in the month of December.) Some women don't even travel on trips via car during the last month of their pregnancies, let alone sit on and ride on a donkey for a few days, while in labor! What a selfless, willing young mother she was, a holy example to us all.
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Our daughters blessed many in our church and community by sharing their musical talents during various church services throughout December. Please pray that I will find an appropriate response to the comment by many, "You must be so proud of your girls and their musical talents!"
I fight against pride all the time. The last thing I want to do is to be "proud" of my girls. (I realize that those who comment like this aren't trying to snare me into a sinful attitude; it's just a common phrase in our society.) I am very pleased with their willingness to share their love of music with others! They practice very hard almost every day, when they could be goofing off and doing whatever they want with their free time. So that's what I've been trying to tell others when they state that I must be so proud of my girls. I love them and I'm very pleased that they have willing hearts to share Christ through music.
But I am trying very hard not to be proud about it.
We decorate our house, inside and out. Even the "stuffed" turkey gets into the holiday spirit!
Kelsi and Brittany set up their Fontanini nativity sets on top of the piano. Every year, we buy them one additional piece for their nativity set. Fontanini nativity pieces are made of resin, making them much less breakable, and they are still made in Italy! They aren't cheap, though, so while I'd love to buy them 2-3 pieces each year, we don't.
The first year, we bought them Baby Jesus.
On year 2, we bought them Mary.
On year 3, they received Joseph.
After that, we allowed them to pick out which characters they wanted to add to their nativity sets. This helps their own nativity sets to be more personal and meaningful. They've each added at least one angel, one shepherd, one wise man, and an animal to their nativity sets now.
Fontani makes literally hundreds of pieces, enough for an entire Jewish village complete with baker, metal worker, potter, shopkeepers, and even palm trees! We are blessed that our small town has a unique drug store that sells beautiful items like this.
On Christmas Eve, we gathered around 3 p.m. at our home with my parents who live here in town near us. Our dear neighbor, Marge, joined us at our Christmas dinner we shared together this year: roast lamb, ham, real mashed potatoes and homemade gravy, braised brussels sprouts, coleslaw, fruit salad, and butterflake rolls.
After a wonderful meal together, I cleaned up the kitchen while everyone else prepared for our church's CHRISTmas Eve service. We left the house around 5:15, picked up our neighbor, Marge (who had gone home to feed her pets before being gone for a few hours again with us), and spent the next couple of hours at church, being blessed by beautiful CHRISTmas music. Delightful!
No CHRISTmas Eve would be complete without going over to my parents' home after the church service for some eggnog, CHRISTmas cookies and goodies, and the reading of the CHRISTmas story from the book of Luke in the Bible.
On our way to their home, we drove through some of the local neighborhoods and viewed the CHRISTmas lights. Beautiful!
My parents' home is always so beautiful on CHRISTmas Eve, with all of the many candles lit throughout the living room and dining room. CHRIST is the Light of the World!
When we sit down with our eggnog and plates of CHRISTmas goodies, there's a hush that settles over us. Something about the inspirational music we've just enjoyed at church, and all those candles at my parents' home.
And then it's time to head home. Marge needs to finish taking care of her animals; our girls need to finish their evening responsibilities and prepare for bed.
And me? I need to mix the dry ingredients together for our special breakfast treat in the morning: Paris Puffins (or French Breakfast Muffins). I use a different muffin recipe than what Betty Crocker originally wrote, and it's filled with more spiced goodness like allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
We all hug good night, and head for bed. Except me, who wants to place our CHRISTmas Eve memories here so we can remember them in the future, when our girls are older, grown, and gone.
Our family wishes you a beautiful, peace-filled
CHRISTmas celebration with your families.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!