Today, as per his usual Christmas tradition, my father treated my whole family to the Living Christmas Tree pageant. This is a lovely musical pageant that does a beautiful job every year retelling the birth, life and death of Christ, interspersed with a modern story (this year it was the story of a man celebrating his 100th birthday and sharing his "wisdom" with a younger man, while working at a soup kitchen). The orchestra and choir are beautiful, the sets and children singing and dancing, and lights, fog, and sounds... They even have angels singing in the skies. It's truly amazing. And best for little boys: The wise men arrive on real camels, and a white stallion, paraded grandly up and down every aisle, with sparkling, colorful robes and glittering crowns.
What a beautiful way to celebrate Christmas today.
But, the highlight had to be this... Aram, my 8yo, couldn't resist a camel ride outside the church. Obviously, he was this camel's favorite rider of the day--if the look on the camel's face says anything!
1. The manger we use to hold gifts (instead of a Christmas tree--we've had this for five or six years now).
2. The "Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar," gift from Big Brother to the little guys.
3. Our "Advent Tree," namely a bouquet of maple twigs cut by my oldest son--and I stole this idea from Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things--saw it in this post of hers for Thanksgiving.
4. The four votive candles I found in the cupboard,
5. The table runner I found at the dollar store, covering the toddler's school desk, which was appropriated for the season.
6. The stack of lovely Christmas reading books I got from the library after printing this fabulous list of books from Elizabeth Foss' post on Advent.
7. The framed oil pastel of Mary and Jesus, done by my 4yo last week.
So, each morning, I let the boys take turns opening their Lego Star Wars calendar. Then, each evening after dinner, we sit at the school desk. I read a smattering of Scripture, devotions, and/or prayer that I collected, and we talk about the hope we have had in Jesus since before the beginning of time.. We light our candle. We draw or paint an ornament on heavy paper, cut it out, punch it, and hang it on our "tree." One of the boys chooses a book from our stack, and they all gather around by the manger as we read it together. Then, we all gather around my computer for our Jacque Lawson's Advent Calendar activity, a gift sent from a Grandma. Then, the boys do some evening pick-up chores (supposedly--that is what they are supposed to be doing right now, but it sounds suspiscous up there), and I fix a little dish of ice cream or some hot chocolate to make the night special.
So... off to dish up some ice cream and see if we can find a Christmas story to watch to unwind for the evening!