Quadruple Blessings!!! Woohoo! I took a break from typing, but took notes about my blessings on scrap papers and in my head the last few days. Christmas celebrations are the foundation of much that I'm giving thanks and praise for today.
Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and parise your Father in heaven."
Christmas Eve Blessings:
1. Family at my mom's house, just next door. Aunts, and Uncle, Cousins, and Cousins once removed, or is that second cousins? all talking with one another in a cozy little house.
2. The joy of gifts being opened by a three year old cousin.
3. Making Munlies. These bread creations are sweet and wonderful, relatively easy to make even if you are gluten free, and make a good breakfast on Christmas morning, if you don't cover them in chocolate chips. Here is a recipe from another site that is close to the one my family uses (except it's regular flour and not gluten free) Munlie Recipe Of course, my family only makes a few dancing bread men . . . and then we get really creative with butterflies, hearts, chessboards, spiders, and Christmas trees. We've tweaked the tradition for the fun of it.
4. Not having the party at my house . . . I know this sounds like a repeat of number one, but really I'm highlighting the fact that I just wasn't ready to host at my house. I made some of the food for the party, but it was nice to have the party at my parents little place.
5. We mostly finished our Gingerbread version of the Dawn Treader on Christmas Eve, after finally accepting that our version might not look anything like the movie version.
6. Our church had four candlelight services on Christmas Eve. We love the Candlelight Christmas Eve services.
7. Singing Carols on Christmas Eve.
8. Lighting candles.
9. The glow of light from each candle lighting up each person's face in a darkened sanctuary.
10. Jesus is the light of the world, and He gifted us with His light, so that we can shine in the darkness too. (see Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
Christmas Day Blessings:
1. Waking up first on Christmas Day. Young or nearly middle age, I am still the first one awake on Christmas morning. I love it.
2. Watching my daughters, my husband, and my parents open their presents on Chrismtas morning.
3. Giving the dogs and the cat their stockings full of treats. Silly, but really fun.
4. Eating our munlies with butter and jam. Yum!
5. Christmas Day worship in pajamas with wonderful, loving friends.
6. Our Pastor's amazing ability to combine his "adult" sermon with his children's message, and share one of his favorite Christmas stories with all of us. We were reminded to be like the star, and show the way to Jesus with our lives.
7. Tears of joy, and sadness as we worship on Christmas morning with Pastor Paul for the last time at Peninsula Lutheran Church.
8. A family of baptisms on Christmas morning.
9. Christmas dinner at my husband's family gathering.
10. Wrestling and tickling matches between Grandpa, our nephew, my husband, and all the cousins.
11. Corny jokes.
12. Playing together, giving each other gifts, wrapping paper wars, and pictures.
The Second Day of Christmas Sunday Blessings:
1. A reminder that there are 12 Days to Celebrate Christ's birth!
2. Another family of baptisms, so wonderful to see the joy and excitement in the kids eyes, and the calm strength in the parents eyes.
3. Singing joyful hymns that lead us to the manger, and then to the cross, never letting us lose sight of Christ's life and salvation.
4. In the Gospel reading yesterday, Matthew 2:13-23, these words stood out to me: "Get up, Out, Get Up, Go" along with the phrase, "he went." After I had underlined and written down those phrases, our Pastor then spoke about God being at work in all things, obedience, and those same phrases that stood out to me. I felt as if the pieces of a puzzle were falling into place, and part of the picture was revealed for a moment. God is at work in all things, even the scattering of our church.
5. Having an afternoon with family, and one friend from church. We played together, book browsed together (it's a family tradition to give each other gift cards to Borders books and then go browse the shelves on the 26th together), ate together, and went to our church's free family movie night together.
6. Despicable Me turned out to be a heart-warming, sweet movie where the villain turns into a hero.
7. Cleaning up after movie night. - sounds odd, but it is fun with a group of loving hard working people. There is a satisfaction in knowing that we have had a small impact on our community with free family movie nights . . . one of the baptisms in the last few days may have been the result of a seed of faith planted there . . . and knowing that outreach can be fun, simple, and wonderful.
8. We have been so blessed by the active members of our congregation, who love, and act, and encourage one another.
9. Enjoying the present moment, and yet looking forward to a new life of faith in a different setting.
10. God works through us, and in us, in all circumstances.
3rd Day of Christmas Blessings, Monday:
1. Walking the dogs, again, in the mud. Getting back into the routine feels good.
2. Conversations of depth, seeking the meaning of God's words with my mom, and discussing our reading of the gospel of Luke.
3. My kids sleeping in, after three days of excitement, family, friends, and presents.
4. Time to catch up on planning, writing, and closet cleaning before school starts next week.
5. Planning a day to ski.
6. Reading Christmas stories during the 12 Days of Christmas . . . we came to the season of Advent slowly, and now we have time to truly celebrate.
7. Planning to start eating the Gingerbead house today . . . maybe.
8-10. Gingerbread Making Pictures . . .
Making the Dough
Sketching, Planning, and Making Templates
Dragon's Head, Mask, Wings, and other pieces cooling on the racks
Candy Green Sea
Putting it together
After the Gingerbread Mast broke, we made one from a candy cane, and attached the wings and tail
Pictures of "finished" Gingerbread Dawn Treader coming soon . . . have to find that camera again.