looking back

I feel sort of silly posting about Christmas, but a blogger friend reminded me recently that we blog in part to keep a little family scrapbook.  I sort of hate how quickly everything moves, everyone always looking ahead to the next thing.  We can’t help it.  In some ways it is our nature, our way of hurrying on ahead of the unpleasantness of the moment we’re currently in.  Casting our eyes onto the hazy future that looks so much more appealing than this dreary now.  Anyway.

So here are some snaps from our Christmas of 2016.  A sweet little Christmas it was.  Being that we have two kids’ birthdays that week, we try to keep things really slow and minimal in terms of festivities we are running around to.  Brandon’s sister came to stay with us for Christmas weekend, which was a real treat for us and the kids!  She surprised us with an awesome family gift of a telescope.  We are really excited to play around with it more, especially as we talk about constellations soon in our homeschool co-op.  We decided not to do any gift opening on Christmas Eve.  We had a quiet evening together instead, and did a little singing by the candlelight.  Christmas morning the kids slept in until maybe 8 am I think, until we finally went and woke them up.  We hadn’t put any gifts out around the tree until after they were in bed on Christmas Eve so that little hands wouldn’t be messing with presents, and we hoped it would be a delight to them to see how full the tree was with presents.  Brandon and I tried to buy each child only one main Christmas gift and then fill their stockings with little fun and practical things.  They were completely showered by grandparents and aunties and uncles.  Our parents absolutely spoiled Brandon and I, too.  I know gift-giving gets a bad rap in our day and age, and in some ways we wrestle with that as well.  How quickly our hearts make Christmas about someone giving us something!  Or about getting that “perfect gift” for our kids.  There may be some years ahead where we choose not to exchange gifts.  For now, it is really the only time of year that we wrap up gifts for one another and it is such a joy to give to do so.

I was surprised this year with how well Christmas morning went.  We had a Christmas a couple of years ago where everyone single one of us cried that morning at some point and it took us awhile to recover the day.  We were bracing ourselves for lots of squabbling and grumpiness and dissatisfaction, but our children really enjoyed themselves and watching each other open gifts.

When the kids woke up we let them open stockings.  Daddy read them the Christmas story from the bible.  Then we had breakfast, a yummy gluten-free coffee cake with eggs and bacon.

We filled their stockings with some gluten-free chocolates and candies, new wooden brushes for the girls (because they are always stealing mine), a wooden snake for noah, new water bottles, a knitting fork for phoebe, a small set of blocks for philippa, a lacing toy each for phoebe and noah, and bonnets for the girls.  Phoebe has loved hers, Philippa still won’t let me try hers on.  She’s not a big fan of hats or hair ties.  But I plan to use them a ton in the summer as they offer such great coverage!

After breakfast we began opening gifts.  They received so many fun things from family members: new dresses and tights for the girls, a new sweater for noah, a toy plane and matchbox car semi truck for noah, lots of crafty things like a beginning knitters kit for phoebe and beeswax modeling sheets (since we can’t have play dough in the house).  A toy drum and tea set for philippa.  Some new books.  Our gift to Phoebe was an indian dress-up costume and a nice bow and arrow set.  She has been obsessed with playing “indians” (I’m sure that is not PC to say anymore) since reading Island of the Blue Dolphins and the Indian Captive earlier in the year.  We gave Noah a big truck that carries a yellow excavator on the back.  It was Brandon’s idea, I thought it was a bit redundant but he informed me that a boy can never have too many trucks.  We gave Philippa a wooden dollhouse.

Brandon really loved the hat I knitted for him, and I’m relieved that it fit and that he likes the color and fit of the hat, being I wasn’t able to try it on him.  My parents gave us a gorgeous pottery dish set made by a friend of theirs.  Eight new plates, mugs, and bowls!  It got me really excited about moving and hopefully buying our first home soon.  I’ve packed them away for now, to wait until that day when we can open them in our new home.

As the Lord would have it, I was reading to the kids in our bible study time this morning from Luke chapter 2.  We were reflecting back on the prophecy in Micah about a savior being born in the city of Bethlehem.  Caesar Augustus ordered a census, which caused Mary and Joseph to have to make the long trek to the city of their family’s heritage.  Bethlehem.  Virgin Mary, pregnant with the Son of God.  Making it to the city of Bethlehem just in time for that baby boy to be born.  Because of the order of the Roman governor.  According to the timeframe and perfect foreknowledge of our God.  In the fulness of time, at just the right time (Gal. 4:4) the Savior was born.  God’s time and way works within and through the circumstances of human history.  It bends and obeys Him, unbeknownst to it.

So even know, with January well under way and my mind full with what is ahead in the year 2017, Christmas still teaches.  In the fulness of time, at just the right time–God will work for you and for I in the very human circumstances of our lives.

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