Christmas Eve was as beautiful experience as ever. At 3pm I played organ for a little country church. (Karl came with me). 6pm Karl, Derek and I attended our own church for their Christmas Eve service. Then, because Karl likes going to a midnight Christmas Eve service we attended a beautiful church in downtown Kilgore that played wonderful traditional carols with pipe organ music and a re telling of the Christmas story from the gospels of Luke and Matthew. This church had huge banners painted in Medieval fasthion of the Christmas story lining either side of the church, eight banners in all.
After driving around my nieghborhood to see all the light displays, we came in for hot chocolate and reading of our favorite Christmas stories. Derek has outgrown these stories but we love to read them every year.
The first is The Christmas Miracle of Johnathon Toomey by Susan Ojciechowski. It's a poignent story of a carpenter who hasn't stopped grieving for the loss of his wife and child but whose faith is renewed when shown the unconditional love of a widow and her son when they request him to build a creche for Christmas.
The second is called The Candle in the Window by Grace Johnson and it's a retelling of an old folk tale. Leo Tolstoy wrote the same story called, Where Love is God is, only his protagonist is a monk. A shoesmith doesn't want to celebrate Christmas since he lost his wife and son (hmm...do you see a pattern here?) On Christmas Eve he is visited by some mysterious guests who tell him he is going to be visited by Jesus that night. While he excitedly waits, he is visited by a frail, old woman, a poor, jobless man and an orphan. You'll have to read the book to know how it all pans out.
The following photo story shows how I decorate my house. Some people collect Santas, some collect Snowmen. Call me crazy, but I collect nativity scenes:
This one is from Ecuador.
The one below is also from Ecuador
This glass nativity scene is the very first one I ever bought, about twenty years ago.
We like to celebrate Christmas morning with an abundance of chocolate.
We always make a gingerbread house. This year, with Karl and his daughter Grace's help we made a gingerbread village.
For some reason I have an inordinate amount of angel ornaments, mostly gifts from students from when I taught school.
An ornament to commemorate where I live.
And the piece de resistance.
May you and yours have a very blessed Christmas and New Year!