A Chronicle of Christmas 2014

.Today I write on a Saturday. Behind me are kids playing with friends and new toys. I’ve been to see a movie…10:10am Wild with Laura and now James and Drew are at a movie themselves. It feels like the second Saturday in 5 days. Christmas on a Thursday has given us a wonderfully long space of family togetherness and a peaceful pace.

This is a Missouri/home Christmas with kids aged 8, 6, and 2 in their primes of present calculation and Advent engagement (Eli), Christmas music DJ and dancer (Andi), and Christmas talking, “Baby Jesus”, “angel” “Santa” and “Lights! Mom look, Lights!”(Oaks). We had great moments at home, church, and with others and now attempt to put a few memories down on “paper” here.

This was a Christmas of….

  • Hosting in our new Home. First Christmas in our new house allowed us to host some great evenings. We had 15 kids for a YL Christmas caroling and white elephant exchange night, then our annual ladies Christmas Being party, and a wonderful night with our family friends the Graves, all around one big dining room table.IMG_3960
  • An Emphasis on Incarnation. I got to speak at the Gashland Presbyterian Christmas Tea on December 15th. God gave me the message of John 1 along with Luke 2 so I got to share that God’s family spread from heaven to earth and invites us up into the love already there for us. I couldn’t help but see the light and life in John 1 as the central theme of Christmas. Turns out, that’s what God told our church as well! The Christmas Eve service was about being found in God’s translation of Self to humanity for all who seek and want him. The dramatic reading that night was a weave of John 1, Luke 2!!!IMG_4886
  • Present anticipation! The wrapped boxes and written Christmas lists made Eli and Andi excited and curious. However, they were patient and grateful when actual opening came around. They opened with IMG_0043IMG_0045great energy, enthusiasm, and the unavoidable consideration of “Hmm…I didn’t ask for this but I will for sure give it a try.” IMG_0045IMG_0039They have enjoyed and played with their new stuff…sharing and creating, building and reading, inviting friends, trying new things, and mixing the new in with their old standbys.
  • Christmas Claustrophobia. We invited our good friends the Sollarses into our Winsteads and Plaza light tradition this year on the 23rd. Turns out it was a popular idea. The 10 of us waited in the impossibly small area by the door for over 30 minutes before we were seated in a booth for six. We crowded in with 6 kids and 4 adults and enjoyed conversation and chaos. They were brave and tolerant friends and I cherish the memory and the shin bruises from all the kicks under the table. At the Christmas Eve service the next night, it was kids on laps and crawling on the floor or over  our crowded pew. It all ended with Oaks the 2 year old holding a lit candle in awe. Wouldn’t trade a squish…it was full of Spirit.IMG_0032
  • New Niece! Getting to hold June at the Crossfit workout Christmas Eve morning and then kiss her in her fancy dress at church was a special way to celebrate the day.
  • Family Tables We celebrated with a great feast and a sweet family on Christmas Day at Gayle and Steve’s. With Quinton and Erica in town, we were 11 for 13 in Osborne attendance which is a great turnout, but not complete…we can’t wait for Adam and MK to come next week! Good food, great people. Time around the dinner table that kept us there for over an hour and kept us fed for the next six! Our own table was our Advent tableau and also held Christmas morning breakfast sandwhichs and the day after Christmas shape pancakes!
  • IMG_0037Christmas Creations. On his own volition, Eli made Christmas shapes out of Legos. Andi drew an abstract snowman on a scrap piece of paper that I can’t stop enjoying and Oaks made joy with peals of giggles, joy in playing with the new Little People nativity, and just because he says things like, “Ahhh, soo cute!” when he sees light displays.
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So now, Christmas ends but the incarnation remains a life altering reality. ..
John Chrysostom writes,
“for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For he willed, he had the power, he descended, he redeemed; all things move in obedience to God. This day, he who is, is born; and he who is, becomes what he was not….The only begotten One, who is before all ages, who cannot be touched or be percived, who is simple, without body, has now put on my body, which is visible and liable to corruption. for what reason? That coming amongst us he may teach us, an teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that we mortals cannot see. Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He has come on earth, while being fully in heaven; and while complete in heaven, he is without diminution on earth. Though being the unchanging Word, he became flesh that he might dwell among us.”
Thanks be to God for being here. Amen!

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