A recap of our family Christmas…treasuring memories!
We always spend Christmas at my mom and dad’s house, and I realized this year that we no longer have a nativity scene at home. We passed the playMobile one down to younger cousins and never replaced it. Mom has a plethora— homemade felt Mary and Joseph, a wooden puzzle, one that she baked out of clay, and one made out of natural objects. But as we approached Christmas Eve, we realized we usually reenact the nativity, so I told the kids they needed to put one together from objects within the house. William made a manger out of popsicle sticks and shepherds out of lacrosse balls and Joseph out of a hockey puck. We only managed to have two wise men and a dog stood in for a cow and a seal took the place of a donkey. Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Penny agreed to show Aunt Kate (who owns a dance studio) her dance for the Nutcracker this year. Even in snow boots, it was beautiful!
CHRISTMAS TREASURE HUNT
In a tradition that goes back at least to my grandparents, Christmas in my household has always included a “treasure hunt” with rhyming clues that take kids from room to room all over the house until they find a group gift. These three were reading clues together for the final leg of this year’s journey, which ended with the piano from Big. (Yes, I was weirdly inspired to buy it after watching the so-sad-but-so-funny SNL skit about Christmas morning!)
A CHRISTMAS HIKE
Christmas morning we started talking about what it would be like to rewrite the Christmas story as if it took place today. Our story had Mary as an immigrant teenager whose family had moved to Brooklyn and Joseph as a man in his twenties who had left the life he was supposed to be living (inheriting the small-town family business in CT where we live) and moving to Brooklyn to pursue his dreams as a woodworker. Our meandering tale had the couple running out of money and coming to Joseph’s family to ask for help on Christmas Eve and being rejected again, right as Mary went into labor.⠀
Peter mentioned an abandoned little cabin in the woods that he knows about, and we imagined Mary and Joseph being rejected by Joseph’s family as a storm rolled in and a tree fell, blocking the road to the hospital. So in our story, Joseph brought her to the cabin to keep her as safe and warm as possible.⠀
We went to see the cabin—and the very full river and the downed trees—on Christmas afternoon.⠀
And once again we felt awe that God would entrust himself to us by coming to earth as a baby boy.
CHRISTMAS GIFT EXCHANGE
Outdoor/Covid-friendly gift exchange with my parents. Mom bought foil blankets (“only $2 each on Amazon!”) to keep us warm!
OUR CHRISTMAS FEAST
Our Christmas feast wasn’t perfect—we undercooked the meat, and the second oven blew a fuse, so we put half of the green bean casserole in the toaster oven. But Marilee made the rolls, and they were perfect.
READING OVER CHRISTMAS
We went for a family hike, and one child promptly fell in the stream we needed to cross, and so I ended up sitting in the car with my feet wrapped in a sweatshirt because I gave this child my socks and shoes.⠀
And as much as I was sorry to miss the hike, I was also happy for a few hours to read on my own. ⠀
Right now I’m reading an advanced copy of Jemar Tisby’s How to Fight Racism, and I love his suggestion for all people—no matter your racial background—to write a racial autobiography.⠀
See photo above for questions he uses as prompts for that personal exploration.
Continue reading with Amy Julia:
- What Repentance Has to Do With Christmas
- AJB Recommends: Holiday Favorites
- The Healing Work of Salvation
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