Sometimes I feel like we have gotten this whole waiting for Jesus thing desperately wrong; twinkling lights, over eating, wrapping countless presents, endless sweets, busyness and usually stress. But I also missed some of those markers of the season when we lived in a distant place without much of that.  I just struggle more now with picking out fancy clothes and baking cookies in preparation for welcoming a king born to a poor young girl in a  humble manger.  I think on these things often and how to prepare our hearts during Advent and while I am certain we don’t have it figured out I know that our kids look forward to our special Advent time and the fun activities and we so want their memories to be rich in times together as a family pondering God’s promises and His lavish love.  I guess I have made peace with nestling our family somewhere in between the extremes, appreciating things from both the simple and the extravagant.  Christmas Eve and morning was simple and special.

We had family celebrations with both sides but for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning we just did our little family and invited some new friends over and celebrated the end of Advent. The wait is over! Jesus is born! We are still waiting for so much in this hurting world but we celebrate God fulfilling His promises on that night in Bethlehem. Our friends joined us in our nativity play that was put together that day and involved various props collected from the recesses of the costume box and the corners of the craft closet.  The girls were so creative and I loved watching them get so into it!

thanks for these images Jamie! And thanks for letting us drag you into the craziness!

a sweet Magi bearing gold

Last time Evy was Mary so Annikah was all about it this year and I loved taking these pictures of her “pondering these things in her heart.” It is so sweet to see them act out elements of the birth of Jesus.

We are grateful for new friends we can celebrate with and stories we can hear about God’s faithfulness to others.

We let the girls stay up LATE Christmas Eve and open presents. My favorite memory this year was the gifts Anni and Evy got and wrapped for each other- they were so excited to see each other open the gifts.

sister sweetness

it really is such a blessing to watch the kids open their gifts

The girls each opened a box that said “pull her” and had 20 one dollar bills taped together; they loved it.

J found a pair of barely used ice skates at Play it Again and Anni is sooo pumped to try them out soon.

Evy also gave J and I such a generous gift of her birthday money and she was so happy to see us open it. We were shocked but want to affirm her generous spirit and Annikah was so touched by her gifts that she started crying and I remembered why many days I want to be more like my girls.

matching robes!

Christmas morning stockings complete with bed head.

best Christmas presie face EVA!

Christmas morning this little guy opened a few hot wheels cars and this adorable Star Wars shirt. He is our son after all so he must start to embrace The Force.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 

Praying that during Advent and all year we are a family that prepares our hearts for Jesus. It is hard because life with small children is chaotic and crazy and everyday life tries to crowd out the vital with the immediate but taking even these simple days to be together and reflect and celebrate are so needed for me. May He be praised and glorified in our Christmas celebration and everyday,


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