Monday, December 10, 2012

The Christmas Story

As Laci is getting older, I am reminded how difficult it is to teach the true meaning of Christmas in the middle of Santa, lights, music, etc.  Even I have trouble focusing on it.  I realized we need to work harder teacher Laci when one day she asked where Santa was in the Bible Christmas Story and pointed out that the only thing not Christmas-y at the Reynold's light display was the church.

But she is 5 and the Christmas magic and fun activites are still important.  I like to try to do something a little Christmas-y every weekend in December.  This weekend was Charlie's company Christmas party.  Let me remind you that he works with his parents so their Christmas party is more of a family outing.  We went to a museum downtown to see a train exhibit.  Then we went to a nice lunch. 

Saturday night we went to a Night in Bethlehem.  I was so impressed.  You entered the church and took a tour of Bethlehem.  First we registered for the census.  Everyone was dressed appropriate for the time period and we met Shepherds, tax collectors, even Roman Soldiers.  We were told about a rumor of a baby being born.  The first stop was the marketplace.  All the kids got coins and could go shopping at the marketplace.  There were about 15 booths and Laci made a bookmark, sheep ornament, got a wood craft to do at home, made a pottery bowl, kneaded bread, etc.  I was really impressed.  We had to stay out of the tax collectors way or he would take all your money.  There was even a begger woman at the well.  After we were done with the marketplace, we headed off to meet the king.  We had to give the rest of our money to the king for taxes.  Then we were denied room at the inn but met Shepherds that told us of a star, an angel and a baby being born in the manger.  In the sanctuary the kids learned the story of the Candy cane and were led by the Wise man to the stable.  It was funn because they had two teenagers as Mary and Joseph with a doll baby but there were real sheep for the kids to pet. 

I thought it was really well done.  A little bit cheesy but good for the kids.  Charlie and I talked the next day about what we hoped Laci got out of it.  I don't know yet but we hope that every year she "gets" just a little bit more.  Calvin boycotted his nap and therefore fell asleep on the 3 mile drive there.  He slept for the entire time.  Next year he may get more out of it - if he can stay awake.

The next morning our church had their cantata.  It was exactly what I needed to feel the spirit again.  Every Sunday at the start of church, the tears just flow, especially this week.  I think it is just the stress of the week building up and finally being in a safe place that the worry and stress can drain away.  I felt ready to continue on with Christmas after church.

Of course, what did we do Sunday afternoon?  Visit Santa!  So it is still a balancing act between Santa and the story of Jesus.  We'll get there.  We do the Advent Candle at dinner every night and I would like to find a family advent devotional for next year. 

By the way - Laci only asked Santa for one thing - the movie Annie!   But I was not prepared for Santa questions when she asked me if we were seeing the real Santa or not.  I was truthful and said that he was not the real Santa but a helper.  She was content with the response that he is an elf.  Whatever works!
We visit the same Santa each year and I love that I have the same picture
of them growing up each year.  Sitting in his sled after is a highlight!

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