Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our Christmas

As my Christmas gift to you, I'm actually writing a third December blog post.  And possibly a fourth, if this one gets too long.  Don't let it go to your head, though.  This burst of generosity won't likely last once classes resume.

Christmas Eve was especially wonderful this year because we were officially in our new church.  But before those two services, we had the annual Christmas Pageant up at the resort.  The little girls were over the moon excited to be in the pageant this year.

Bethany and Abigail, lined up and ready to go!

I had high hopes that they'd do well as angels this year, based on their enthusiasm for their roles. They asked me daily when the pageant was, raring to wear their costumes and be part of the play.   I wrote about our pageant experience last year and I am very happy to report that Abigail was a perfect angel.  Really.  She was an angel.  And a perfect one.  Stood up on stage, on her mark, with her hands folded 'in prayer' and stayed that way the entire time.  What a difference from last year's reluctant donkey, huh?  Bethany did quite well too, but did make a dash down to my seat so she could take off her shoes.

Walking to the stage.

The two services at the church were magical.  The decorations managed to hide the fact that the sheet rock isn't truly finished and painted. (Jim has some great photos of the sanctuary on his blog, in more light, that you can check out here.) There were about 113 chairs set out and they were all nearly full for the 7:30 service.  The service itself was familiar and traditional, but there was something about singing Silent Night at the end, all of us holding candles, with the lights turned low, that made me lose it.  I made it through the first verse and then became rather verklempt and cried for the other three.

Here is Jim singing during Silent Night.  Grainy photo, but it captures the warm, glowy atmosphere.

After the service, Samuel noticed my tears and asked me what was wrong.  I replied that nothing was wrong but that everything was right.  And it was.  Around 100 voices raised in singing about the birth of our Savior (although 'silent' was probably not how that first night was!).   Pretty awesome.  And, to know that all of the things (Bibles, hymnals, chairs, altar, lectern, Christmas tree, etc) that were moved over for this service get to stay.  That's even better.  What a gift God gave to Jim this Christmas season!

I also went to the 11:00 service, thanks to Samuel's generosity.  He stayed home with the little girls, who were sound asleep, and I got to go to the late service for the first time in a few years.  Samuel said he'd use the time wisely and finish wrapping gifts.  Instead he zonked out on the couch.  The late service was not as widely attended but was still magical.  We saw a couple of cool videos, sang a lot of carols, heard the Christmas story through scripture and sang Silent Night in candlelight, welcoming Christmas Day in style.

Between the two later services, the kids opened their pj/ornament packages.  That'll have to be for another blog post because I think this one is long enough.  So, hey, you may get five December blog posts before I'm all done!  No fainting please.  Just come back and visit and read!

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