Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Very Merry Christmas to All

Merry Christmas morning! I don't know why exactly, but the kids insist on lining up in age order to proceed to the tree...

Our first stop is the Nativity set, where Isaac reads the account of Christ's birth from the Gospel of Luke as Erin sets the baby in the manger. This is the Nativity set that I made in the ceramics shop on post in Germany way back when I had one child. And he is now away from us for the first Christmas ever, serving our country.

Nathaniel may be away, and not able to communicate much, but he was able to get online last month and order gifts to be sent to his family! Isaac received from his brother the first Lego Star Wars video game for his birthday, and now the second game for Christmas!

Rebekah is rather tickled with the "pillow fight!" t-shirt we found for her online.

Those who have seen Kate "dance" will fully appreciate the humor behind her, "allow me to explain through interpretive dance" shirt. You go, dancing queen!

Isaac, a recent convert to Eagles "fandom", loves his official Eagles chair.

Erin, always a fan of the comfy-cozy, loves her pouffy chair!

Erin picked out this cute jewelry hanger for Bekah.

Kate bought this beautiful pair of hand-carved onyx bookends from India during our trip to Ten Thousand Villages, much closer to us than India.

The girls love their gift sets from Bath and Bodyworks which Nathaniel ordered.

Bekah picked out this cool kite, made in Bangladesh, for Isaac. It is a hand-painted dragon. We can't wait to fly it on our windy hill!

This giant present was one of the first to be wrapped and placed next to the tree...

And it is a gorgeous mirror with hand-painted frame, made in Indonesia, now hanging in our front entry, so we can have a last check before running out the door. Simply beautiful!

Not to be forgotten, our pup just loves her rawhide candy-cane! She took it to the dining room to enjoy it under the table in peace.

The candy-cane was down to cigar shape by lunchtime, so we set it aside to give her tummy a break. She was carrying it everywhere she went. We called her to the basement to see the "big gift" that was awaiting the family down there...

An Air Hockey table! Oh, is this ever fun! The tournament we will play! This will be a terrific wintertime diversion when it's too icky to play outside. Like, for instance, on Christmas day, when it was drizzly and rainy all day. Snow would have drawn us out for at least a bit, but rain when it's this cold is just yucky!

For our evening feast we set the table with the holiday plates. With the Nativity set and the candles the room was lovely.


Our feast was inspired by the December issue of Bon Appetit. Rosemary seasoned standing rib roast with two mushroom pan sauce, potatoes au gratin, roasted tomatoes with feta cheese and steamed asparagus. We all agreed that this meal is a keeper. The sauce on the roast alone made the meal, oh, so scrumdiddlyumptious!

Other gifts of note, for which we have no pictures, are numerous books including "the bible of Italian cooking" for Bekah as well as Julia Child's "My Life in France" to inspire our future chef. Jim will enjoy reading Newt's book on Rediscovering God in America while I can't wait to start my Carlyle history of the French Revolution. Papaw sent the yummiest friut and nut candies which we will endeavour to enjoy sparingly, so to make them last, (right). Grandmommy sent lovely pieces of jewelry for all the girls and a warm Steelers blanket for Isaac as well as an apron for me which clearly states the obvious, "Skinny cooks can't be trusted!". Being movie buffs, I can't fail to mention here that we now have the new Superman movie as well as the newest movie from our favorite writer/producer/director; M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water! Whoo-hoo!

Another movie for our Christmas collection that we've recently discovered is a French film, Joyeux Noel. We rented this movie from Netflix and fell in love with it. It's the true story, drawn from eyewitness and written accounts, of the spontaneous Christmas Eve truce in the trenches of World War I. The film focuses on one area where the Germans are facing French and Scottish troops. The director points out in an interview that while the "fraternizations" happened all down the entire front, they have condensed several of the stories into the one. Something that did happen in many instances was a shared Christmas mass, which is portrayed in this movie with such tenderness and beauty. While the men speak three different languages and come from such different backgrounds, they share a common faith which in the mass is understood by all in Latin. On Christmas day they agree to bury the dead who've been left in the "no man's land" during the hostilities.

I couldn't help but marvel at the differences between that war and this in which we now find ourselves. The most basic, fundamental need of our race is expressed in our relationship with our Creator. In the first World War, though enemies, the men facing one another across the front lines shared an understanding of God that had stood firm and sure through the centuries. On the eve of the day which celebrated the birth of their common Savior, they laid down their arms and celebrated His birth together. We now face an enemy that would slaughter us for those very beliefs which led to the truces in WWI. With such beliefs held in common there was hope for, (and eventually it came to pass) a more lasting peace among those who fought. The enemy we now fight will abide no such peace, ever. Nor can we surrender our beliefs to accomodate their demands and attempt peace on their terms. So we must stand firm, as a nation, and as Christians, in the face of open war. We must never downplay the reality that what we believe about God makes a difference in how we understand our enemy. And we must trust that the true King of the universe alone will bring lasting peace.

With hope only in Christ, we wish you all peace and joy this holiday season.

1 comment:

Audrey said...

BA:
love your blog....just read your christmas letter...Praise GOD for your new wonderful home!
loved your christmas dinner...fantastisco!