Celebrating the birth of Jesus. Spending time with family and friends. The coziness of a decorated home. Giving gifts. Receiving gifts. :)
All of those things are magical and meaningful to me, and yesterday's celebration was yet another expression of those characteristics.
Even though it was our smallest Christmas ever, with Tyler and Lara in the States, and Caleb and Haley in Slovakia, there was still a sweetness and joy about the day.
And guess what? Santa still came to fill a stocking, even if just one Patty
Kaylee was a willing stand-in for a sibling all day, and more than happy to help Claire out with her presents.
Or just to hang out in her arms and pretend to be a Christmas puppy! HA!
Taking our time to open gifts, talk, drink coffee, reminisce, make breakfast, and enjoy being together was all on order yesterday.
We stuck with some traditions, but made some new ones as well - like this incredibly delicious gingerbread cake that Claire made for breakfast instead of calorie/sugar/butter laden cinnamon rolls that we've enjoyed in the past, which are not so good on our tummies anymore!
It actually hailed in the morning giving a slight effect of a white Christmas...for about five minutes! But it was still cool enough outside to have a good roaring fire going while enjoying our morning traditions.
Dave read the Christmas story from Luke, as he always does, and we talked about what new thing struck us this year as we heard it.
I'm always amazed that there's something new every year. For me it was the wonder of Mary enduring that long journey to Bethlehem, heavy with child. Surely she must've known how close she was to giving birth to Jesus, and yet she went and thus fulfilled the prophecy of him being born in Bethlehem.
That part of the story was all the more poignant yesterday as we waited anxiously for news of another imminent birth: our dear friends here, Petr and Lauren Bozon, welcomed their Noelle Grace at 5:30 in the afternoon on Christmas Day!
Other sweet moments of the day: being surprised by my daughter-in-law, Lara, who sent one of my favorite treats: Snyder's Mustard Pretzels! Because I don't do well with gluten, I gave them up many years ago, but sure never forgot the yummy taste. I had no idea they now exist gluten free!!
"Thank you Lara for finding those for me!!"
More sweet moments of the day? Lots and lots of happy smiles! I love this one that Claire captured of her dad!
And this funny moment thanks to a perfect gift from our brother-in-law, David!
The other angle!
Of course there were thoughtful gifts that made the day special.
|An "Aunt Michelle" gift that she sneakily sent for Claire!|
|A handmade card from my mom and dad with money for a date night!|
|A beautiful scarf from my mom-in-law!|
Later in the afternoon we had a visit from our dear neighbor to show us the necklace she received yesterday!
And then a sweet evening visit with our friends, Jonny and Lisa and their precious kids!
The day was complete in its magic and meaningfulness with FaceTime chats in the morning with Caleb and Haley in Slovakia, and later in the evening with Tyler and Lara in Chicago, as well as talks with our parents. So thankful to be able to connect with all of them on such a wonderful day.
We finished our Christmas by watching "Elf" for oh, probably the 10th time! But it's just one of those "must see" movies for us.
And then we woke up to snow this morning, that's still on the ground this evening as the sun sets. Magical.
My heart is full of thankfulness to the Lord for His gift of salvation to me, and for the many other good gifts He's given through the years, including this very precious Christmas 2014.