Mount of Olives panorama

Mount of Olives panorama
A panoramic view of the Mount of Olives

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve and Morning, Huntsman Style

Before our final Advent celebration, we had our traditional Christmas Eve "picnic," a spread of fancy hors d'oeuvres.   We then put on our Nativity play, which was written, as usual, by the children themselves.  Some of my complaints about historical and biblical inaccuracies made it into the play as asides that have become jokes in the family.  But it is all good fun, and Samuel LOVES it.

Samuel's final Christmas Eve checklist

Our Christmas Eve spread

Cheering Elaine for her efforts in a small kitchen with only Israeli and Arab grocery stores and markets

Mother and the narrator in our Nativity play

Samuel as the angel of the Annunciation, telling Mary the good news

Now telling Joseph about his role

Rachel as a soldier, announcing an unhistorical taxation

Loading the "donkey" for the trip

A mean, unhistorical and unbiblical innkeeper telling Mary and Joseph that there is no room in the katalyma, whatever that happened to be

"Rest now, Mary. You've done your part"

Shepherds abiding in their field by nigh

Shepherds "sore afraid"

The Angel of the Lord giving them the good tidings of great joy (sounds like a book title!)

Wise men arrive 12 days, or maybe 2 years, too early.  Dad sends them away and says come back at Epiphany!
Rachel then lit the lamps of the Hanukkiah for the fifth night of Hanukkah (the Hanukkah menorah we bought here in Jerusalem actually uses small oil lamps, fitting for that holiday), and Samuel lit all the candles of our Advent wreath, including the central white Christ Candle.  After a more serious reading of the Christmas story from Luke 2, we sang "Silent Night" together, followed by our new tradition, the sacrament hymn "Jesus, Once of Humble Birth."  Samuel ASKED to say the prayer for Christmas Eve, and it was very sweet.

Checking off the final items!

 The children (including grown-up Lindsay!) then piled into one room to watch Christmas videos until they were at last asleep.  Mother had gone to bed in her apartment down the hall, and Elaine, exhausted from the day, had passed out in our room, so I had some sacred alone time with my music, candles, and thoughts on this special Christmas Eve.  Some of my personal, solitary traditional listening: "Carol of the Birds" and "O Holy Night" with the King Singers and men of the Tabernacle Choir.
A sweet moment between Samuel and his oh-so-tired Momma

"Kids" piled in Samuel's room

Shedding a bit more light on the slumber party

What is is all about . . .
The children had us up bright and early at 5:00.  In our family, it is not Christmas if it is not still dark, because the setting of a room lit only by Christmas lights and candles is magical.

It has been a wonderful Christmas for us.  Our big turkey dinner still lies ahead and we hope to continue the Christmas spirit another 12 days and throughout the year.  We hope that all of you have had a happy and blessed Christmas as well.

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