I can't get my Christmas Concert videos to work that I wanted to share to wrap up China so I'm waiting for next week.
For now I want to remember CHRISTMAS and how it filled our hearts like never before in the wake of being in a generally non-Christian nation for so long...and just being GONE for so long.
Everything filled us with complete delight from the sparkling lights:
To the true "oh come let us ADORE Him" (or "her" in this instance with our darling little niece Shelby playing the star part in our rendition of the Nativity). These cousins took the adoration level to new limits with that sweet girl.
And to be with parents who we got to share in our time-tested sacred family tradition of our own "Jerusalem Supper" so beautifully put on by my mother.
The food is strictly what they probably would have had back then: fish, unleavened bread, olives, figs, etc. It is beautiful and spirit-filled but somehow this tradition hasn't been transferred to Dave and my little family...it got lost in the mixing and melding of traditions handed down as we made up our own.
So it felt extra enriching to get to do it again.
My Dad never misses a teaching-moment opportunity. This one is while everyone was donning their Jerusalem costumes:
Once everyone is ready and the candles are lit, the lights go out and we get into character.
I love this tradition.
From the Jerusalem Supper we headed straight into the Nativity (with a quick switch of who got to play Mary):
After that my mom showed the fascinated grandkids all the symbolism of a sand dollar.
The legend of the Sand dollar
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus Christ
Found in this lowly shell.
If you will examine closely,
You'll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman's spear.
On one side the Easter Lily,
It's center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.
The Christmas Poinsettia
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His birthday,
Our joyous Christmas tide.
Now break the center open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread good will and peace.
This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me.
To help to spread His Message
Through all eternity.
A pretty amazing piece of nature I must say. My mom had the kids break some open so they could see the "doves" inside. Not a very good picture but this was one of Lucys:
With that, everyone else aside from my parents and brother headed out and we hunkered down for our own tradition of the kids' Christmas Eve gift-giving (my favorite part of Christmas every year):
Dave read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" (his family tradition growing up that we have adopted).
Then we tucked those jet-lagged, adrenaline-pumped, pure delight-filled children of ours in bed.
This is the note Lucy came up with out of the blue and left for Santa that night:
Glad it worked for Santa too.