Christmas 2016

This year we really wanted to celebrate the meaning of Christmas. Our little ones were at the perfect age to understand (and anticipate) Santa Claus, and we were excited for them! But we also wanted them to learn young about giving and helping others feel loved. We frequently told them that Santa brings us gifts because he loves us, and we give gifts to others because we love them. Tying it all together, we emphasized that wise men brought gifts to baby Jesus because they loved Him, and He loves us too.

We bought small gifts to distribute each day before Christmas, and the kids took turns picking who needed to feel loved that day. After school we took a gift to a friend, a teacher, a fellow church-goer, or a neighbor. We hoped a small token of love would brighten the day of those we visited.

I also took the three older kids to the Dollar Store, one at a time, so they could pick out sibling gifts. I was surprised how quickly they picked out something their brother and sisters would actually like. Of course they wanted to get presents for themselves too, but at least they were happy to choose a gift and wrap it for their family members.

Then, a few days before Christmas, I learned about a family in need. A single mother had just lost her job, and her three children didn't have any presents yet. We gathered up some gently used toys from our house and called upon some other families with kids the same age. With their help, we filled two giant bags of nice toys for this family. On Christmas Eve we drove to their house late at night to drop off the surprise presents. Simon, our five year old, commented, "Mom, it's like we're Santa Elves!" Helping that family made my heart beam, and I hope our kids continue to help people as they get older. It's easy for kids to get over-excited about "receiving" at Christmastime, and at their young age, it's expected. But at they mature, I really hope they remember the fun of giving.

Finally Christmas morning came!!!

I was awake before the kids and so anxious for them to experience a magical morning. When everyone finally woke up and realized their were toys in the living room, the fun started! We took turns with presents, gave hugs for our gifts, and enjoyed family time. Church started at 1:00pm, so we had plenty of time to play and bake yummy food together.

We are so blessed to have four amazing kids, a festive home, working cars, air conditioning (since it was Texas hot outside), and plenty of food in the pantry. 
Life is good. God is great. And Christmas was wonderful.