The busyness of the season has hit our household with full force and I am now a week behind in my posts. (Which my wife pointed out with a subtle - "You need to get back to posting." this morning)
Without further ado -
Day 12 - Christmas Lights
Christmas would not be Christmas without the lights that ring the house. My wife pulled out and sorted the various strings of lights into "working" and "not working" piles. We decided on what we were going to do and then I dutifully climbed the ladder and began stringing lights. My wife handed them to me and gave me great encouragement like: "You look cute while you string Christmas lights."
Day 13 - Mesa Temple Lights
Day 14 - Ward Party
This is our second Christmas in our ward (we celebrate our first year here on Sunday) but we moved the weekend after the ward party last year and so we missed it. We thoroughly enjoyed it this year. The theme was "Christmas Around the World". Centerpieces were made out of different artifacts from countries around the world and the cultural hall was festooned with flags (my kind of decorations). Members of the ward who had lived or who were from other countries told stories about their Christmas experiences in those countries. I told the legend of the Poinsettia from Mexico. Dulcinea played a flute solo, Teeney Bopper and Sweet G sang in a youth Choir, Dulcinea, Sweet G and I sang in the choir and Dr. D was Joseph in the nativity. We made centerpieces with stuff from Mexico and Chile and Dulcinea and her friend Naunee made empanadas. Yum!
Day 15 - December's Testimony Meeting
Our monthly Fast and Testimony meetings are generally inspiring and uplifting, but there is always something special about the one in December. We come to Church with tender hearts, reviewing the year and remembering the true meaning of Christmas. Fast and Testimony meeting this past Sunday was a feast. Each person who stood up bore their simple witness that Jesus is the Christ. The diversity of experiences and stages of life that were represented during the meeting added to the spirit that was there. We heard from two members of our ward who have recently lost their spouses, a sister missionary who had just completed her mission three days earlier and a mother who had just sent her only child off on a mission to her home country of Japan. Each person gave their witness and their perspective on the Atonement of Christ and the great gift of his life. I was grateful for the testimonies that were shared.
Day 16 - Christmas Concerts
Friday we attended Sweet G's dance recital, Monday night we went to Blondie's orchestra concert and tomorrow we go to Teeney Bopper's ballroom dance recital. Seeing our children perform is one of the things that warms our hearts in December. We have fun trying to find parking, then seats and then cheering for our favorite performers (who share our last name and DNA, of course).
Day 17 - Jacket Weather
Although I bragged earlier about the lovely AZ weather in the winter time, we have been going through a cold spell lately that has required jackets to be worn when outside. I actually had to brush dust off my coat before I put it on. We even had snow in some parts of the valley this week that stayed on the ground until around noon. (For those of you who routinely have to shovel the stuff I realize that this is no biggie, but for us it is almost the event of the year.)
Day 18 - Freedom
70 years ago today the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor Hawaii. In the years that followed, a generation of men and women stood up and faced a determined enemy, ultimately winning the war. I realize that war is the antithesis of Christmas, but the themes of loving something more than oneself, sacrifice and preserving freedom run through both topics. And, of course, there is the promise that when He comes again war will end and we will live with real peace on Earth.
I am grateful for the men and women who have stood up against tyranny to defend freedom. And I am most grateful that, because of their sacrifice, I have the freedom to worship according to the dictates of my own conscience. Above all I am a grateful for the ultimate freedom that the Savior provides to all of us - freedom from death and sin.