Wednesday, December 28, 2011

of Advent Calendars, donkeys, and the top of our Christmas tree

Our Advent Calendar was everything I hoped it would be.  By Christmas Day, Ben was filling in all the pertinent words of the Christmas story, and Will was saying almost the whole story along with me.  
Here are the boys on Christmas morning, after putting baby Jesus in the manger.  (They fought over who got to stick him on until I made them do it together!)  I'm so glad I created this calendar this year, and I hope it will get great use for many years to come.  As I hoped, it also did attract attention in our hallway and proved a helpful teaching tool to explain the Christmas story to any local friends who came to our house.


Look who was standing outside our kitchen window most of last week:

Doesn’t he make you think of Bethlehem?  (He belongs to a neighbor boy who was chopping branches for firewood in our backyard.)  I couldn't resist a few photos of his fuzzy face.

A final Christmas anecdote…
The boys and I decorated our little Christmas tree, bought at the bazar, with decorations collected from several different sources, including a bag of dusty ornaments scrounged from the basement of this house.  (A little background: Russian New Year holiday traditions are actually almost identical to the the secular Western “Christmas” - decorated trees, presents, even a Santa Claus figure - except they don’t have Jesus in the middle  either.)  At the end of decorating, Will hooked a sparkly gold star we found in the basement at the top of the tree.  I thought it looked nice, even though we couldn’t get it to hang at the very top.
We do have a couple of real ornaments too, including an olive-wood carving of the manger scene.  While Will and I were carefully putting hooks on and spacing the ornaments out over the tree, Ben behind us was methodically taking them off again.  For the rest of that day, I kept finding ornaments at the bottom of the tree, minus their hooks - Ben was taking them off, discarding the hooks, playing with them and then, not being able to put them back on the tree, leaving them helpfully visible on the tree skirt!
When my house helper arrived the next morning, she set about tidying the living room, and in the process picked up around the tree.  Here’s what the tree looked like when I came back in again after she finished:

I left it that way, and prayed that she would come to see Christmas in exactly the same way.  
A Merry Christmas to all you lovely readers, and a safe and blessed New Year’s weekend!


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