We all agreed that we wanted to go to the Christmas Eve service at the Nazarene College Church. We love the simple but beautiful service they put on, with more choruses and hymns than spoken words. This year, after weeks of working long hours, of trying to squeeze in activities around the work and the sadness that our community felt, there wasn't a lot of time to sit and BE. I didn't realize this until a few minutes after entering the service, when I felt my body and heart start to unwind. This year the words were more poignant, the awe of that Holy baby greater. Mostly the deep craving for that HOPE that we celebrate with Jesus' birth swept through me. Tears trailed my cheek as the voices sang out around me. I thought about our friends celebrating their first Christmas without their first son. I thought about my two kids who fill me with bursting love. I thought about friends who after a horrific accident were now having to grieve the loss of their marriage and spend their first Christmas in 20+ years apart. I looked at my own beautiful, intact family and thought about how it didn't feel fair to have them gathered around me on the pew, in the warm room, in the glow of candles. The sadness could overwhelm if not for the HOPE of that one light in the midst of darkness.

 

Even though it's a late night for the kids, late dinner for the adults and we have seat wigglers it's just worth it to take that time to stop and sit and sing and listen. And at the end of the service I realized Nate and I are really passing a milestone. They handed out a coloring page to each kid and our kids alternated between coloring and trying to sing along. There were no snack requests, no whining and no shushing and all four of us were truly able to be present for the service. Pretty cool milestone!

 

After the service we went home to a long standing tradition of fondue. We had two types of cheese fondue, lil smokies and salad. I think this might have been the first year the kids participated instead of going off to bed and of course they loved spearing and dipping their own food. They'll also never turn down a mini hotdog! Of course Eden ate all of her bread plain, as always announcing to the whole table her distaste for cheese. Kids opened adorable matching Christmas jammies from Auntie Kim and went to bed snug as little bugs.

 

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