Christmas Eve with the family
December continued to be a sad month for us, but on the other hand, we had many blessings.
It has been sad to see Nana (Colin's mother) continue to deteriorate. She can no longer walk or even feed herself, although she is in her right mind, which is a blessing. Despite her being afflicted like this, she continues to be a blessing to our family. Colin is one of 9 children and most of this other siblings take part in caring for her. Nana is drawing the wider family together as they each take turns in caring for her, especially over night.
Christmas was the major event of December for our family.To my mind, our Christmases are getting better. I say this because we are deliberately trying to make Jesus the focus of celebration. A few years ago, our Christmases would have been little different from secular society. Presents and food were the main focus.
As our family lives with Nana on her large property, some of her other children and their families stay on the property over the Christmas period. The highlight would have to be the traditional Christmas Eve celebration that we have. This year, we had this celebration two days before Christmas and not on Christmas Eve. About 7 families were present, totaling 40 people, predominately children. We had the celebration in a large garage. We tried to make it a special time for the children, but emphasized that it was Jesus' birthday.
This is what we did:
1) Sparkling grape juice. Sparkling grape juice is a treat for us, and we began the evening each with a glass of grape juice, remembering that it was Jesus' birthday.
2) Share a blessing: Those who wanted to share then shared a key blessing they had during the year. The blessings people shared were such things as Nana still being with us, Joseph & Rebecca's wedding, and Nana's four great grand children born during the year.
3) Prayers of thanksgiving: Short prayers of thanksgiving were prayed by various people for the blessings we had received during the year.
4) Carol singing: Even was given a candle, and a nephew led a time of singing carols that focused on Jesus, which was enjoyed by everyone.
5) A game: a fun game which included everyone was played.
6) Santa Claus: Our son, Joseph, came in dressed up as Santa Claus, giving out lollies. He then gave out presents under the Christmas tree to the grandchildren & great grandchildren. The children all knew that Joseph was Santa Claus, but they still loved it.
On Christmas Eve, our own family had a special time. Joseph & Rebecca were with us and we again shared blessings we had received from God. We also shared from our own Quiet Times and some very significant things were shared. It is the sharing and praying together which is such a blessing in our family.
As a family, we still struggle with the commercialism of Christmas. This year, however, we felt that Jesus was far more the focus than he had been in previous years.