My dear family and friends, I pray you all have a wonderful Christmas! Snow on the ground... Christmas trees up... Last minute runs to Wal*Mart and standing in 20 minute check out lines. Fresh baked Christmas cookies... Christmas pagents... Sounds of snow crunching beneath boots. Christmas presents... Long drives through the cold to visit family... Staring out the car windows at all the lit up houses covered in Christmas lights and decorations. New sweaters... Sucking on red and white striped peppermint candy canes, trying to make the end pointy... Christmas songs playing softly in the back ground. A manger set on top of the mantle surrounded by swags of spruce and holly berries...Christmas.
Hard to imagine all those wonderful things as I sit here in the house with the fan blowing directly on me, sucking ice cubes to stay cool. The thermometer says it's 100 degrees, and I believe it! I passed George today and he said, "It hasn't snowed yet." "But they're calling for it tonight!" I assured him. "A 70 percent chance. So we should still get our white Christmas!" Hahaha.
Christmas is going to be an exciting and amazing event here, and I am so excited! Tonight we have the candle light service at church. The kids are all going up in groups to sing a Christmas song or do a skit. I've been working with 9 of the four year olds in the baby house to do a special Christmas song. They are so precious and are really doing a fantastic job! I hope they don't get stage fright. After the service the church will be set up with tables and decorated with streamers and balloons and maybe a Christmas tree, though we haven't bought it yet.
Tomorrow morning the gift giving starts around 10:00. I will be assisting in the baby house, and might move over to the girls dorm when the babies are done. At 1:00 the kids from the bocaria (the city dump) arrive and get a chicken lunch in the church, followed by gifts prepared for them, and then we haul them back to the dump in the big cameo truck.
Next our kids file into the church. They will sit at long tables, each get a big plate of chicken and rice and french fries, and a bottle of Coca-cola or Fanta. After everyone's tummies are quite full, they will have the after noon to spend playing with their new gifts. The missionaries are getting together to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" and eat pop corn and Christmas cookies.
Sunday morning's church service will be a special one, as we are integrating about 60 kids back into their homes and families this year, and we are having a special service for them. Sunday evening the long term missionaries are getting together to have a cook out, sing Christmas carols (Like "I'm dreamin' of a white Christmas" ;-)), and have a gift exchange.
Everyone is talking about it being Jesus's birthday. The preschoolers run up to me just to ask "Is it Jesus's birthday yet?" Then run off to play again.
Things are certainly different here for Christmas. I can imagine what's going on at home. Right now it's about 6:15 a.m. Mom is getting up to start getting the gifts and food packed to take to the grand parent's houses for our usual Christmas eve get together.
Tomorrow morning my brothers and sisters will be tip toeing down the steps at 4:00 a.m. to sit on the couch with all the lights off except the Christmas tree lights. They will sit there talking quietly and staring at the Christmas tree, in great anticipation of mom and dad finally rolling out of bed to get the day started. Hopefully Cara or Christina will remember to put the coffee on so it doesn't take dad an extra 20 minutes.
Mom and dad will come in and turn on the light and put on the radio (WCRF's 7 days of non stop Christmas music, you know!). Dad will sit down with his bible, and read aloud the story of Jesus's birth from Luke. Then starting with Sammy (the youngest) and working their way up, each of my siblings will pass out the gifts they bought or made for each other. It is so special at my house. Everyone opens their gifts one at a time, and lots of "Ooh's" and "Ah's" are raised over each other's presents.
When the siblings are done, we clean up all the wrapping paper, then comes mom and dad's gifts. We again open the gifts one at a time, waiting for each person, and getting excited with them. When the Christmas presents are over, we clean up, everyone makes a place under the tree for their pile of gifts, and we spend the day playing with the new toys and wearing our new clothes.
Mom makes a big lunch to have around 2:00, and grandma Dorn comes over. Last year grandma came on Christmas eve and spent the night, so she was there for our special Christmas morning routine. That was sooo special.
God has blessed me with 18 amazing Christmas's at home with my absolutely AMAZING family. I can't believe I won't be there this year, but I am thrilled to be here. AND, my mom and dad consented to leaving the Christmas tree up till I get back, so that makes everything okay. Lol
Well, right now I am going to the baby house. The kids just went down for their naps, and I am getting together the educators, and decorating the whole baby house! I have garlands and streamers and balloons and Christmas lights, and a Christmas tree poster the kids made with their hand prints. It'll be so beautiful when the kids wake up.
May the Lord bless you richly this Christmas. May His light shine ever brighter on you, and may you sing and make music in your heart to God! Don't be frustrated over burnt cookies or the wrong size clothes for someone. Just relax and enjoy your day. Sit and just ponder our Savior's birth. Think about what it means to YOU personally. Thank God for His incredible gift to you. And think about what you can give back to Him for Christmas this year.
I love you all so much! Merry Christmas, Feliz Natal!
In Jesus, Love always,
14 hours ago