I wanted to tell you about this past Saturday and Sunday. It seemed like a perfect December pre-Christmas weekend.
On Saturday morning we went to our local Christmas Stroll, which was what I would call a street fair. The weather was warm but not-too-hot, and we enjoyed walking and looking and tasting and picked up a few stocking stuffers and gifts.
When I got home that afternoon my new coffee maker had arrived; I am so pleased to have this in time for our Christmas Day open house.
Saturday evening all three of my teens had babysitting jobs, so the four youngers watched The Bells of St. Mary's with me. Then it was a quick ooh-ahh-look-at-the-lights drive with Daddy, baths, and on to bed.
On Sunday we went to church, and the worship was wonderful. We had two dear families who left our local body to plant an urban church back visiting with us, and it felt so good to have them there again. Then it was on to the children's Bible class and Christmas program practice. We had some good prayer time with the kids this week. After church the kids all stayed and we fed them a gourmet hot dog lunch then turned them loose on the playground to burn of some steam while inside the sanctuary the puppet stage and choir risers were set up for our dress/set rehearsal. The rehearsal went great! There is so much more to that statement then meets the eye; you see, our church has been in a season of testing -pruning -loss -grief -transition -whatever, and these 30-odd kids have been through the wringer. There was such a spirit of cooperation during this rehearsal (something that I had prayed for specifically and out loud during our class time) even with the 4 & 5 year-old angels and shepheards who had neither seen nor heard any of the program prior to this. I left the church at 3:40 Sunday afternoon feeling like I was truly filled with Christmas joy!
--And a cold front was rolling in; the high that day had been 81.
Our church does not have Sunday evening services, so on many Sunday nights my husband and most of the kids go downtown for services here. I usually stay home with one or two of the kids who prefer to stay home as well. But this week we all went, because we were going to Bethlehem afterwards. Now, some you may have heard of or heard this guy, who is the lead worshipper at this church. And his rendition of Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone is one of my favourites. Well, we sang this on Sunday night and unemotional me was definitely moved. Then there was a great sermon by Pastor Matt.
After the service we scurried to the van ~ boy, was it getting cold ~ remember the day's high was 81 ~ and we set out for Bethlehem. After a little over an hour's drive we arrived. Thankfully, it was not crowded, most likely due to the weather, which didn't bother us non-native-Texans. We saw Roman soldiers, a tax collector, a Jewish Priest, a candle-maker, a basket-weaver, a black-smith, an inn-keeper, chickens, sheep, and camels; we had some wonderful bread and went back for seconds, then thirds. Finally, we saw the star and followed it until we found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
As we were walking back to our van we noticed a sign at the local bank with a temperature reading ~ 37 degrees ~ it was beginning to feel a little more like Christmas. It had been 7+ hours since any of us had eaten, so we made a quick stop at the first place we saw for some cheapie burgers and little apple pies, and then a long, quiet, foggy drive home to bed. We actually didn't even do our Advent wreath until last night, because all of the kids, even the older ones, were so exhausted Sunday night.
It was just such a wonderful, memorable weekend that I wanted to blog about it.