Thanksgiving ended and we have hit the ground running with Christmas!
Friday evening was the annual MRF Christmas dinner. A local church choir that does a Christmas show came in and sang for us, which was really nice. The kids behaved and the food was good – not much more we could ask for!
This sweet lady is the wife of a board member and she just fell in love with our BabyJ and held him basically the entire evening. He snuggled right up to her and was content as could be. Our other two behaved well enough that we had people request to babysit! If they only knew what they were in for… 😉
Saturday, we switched gears and Brian headed down to our church early afternoon for the craziness that is the Annual Living Christmas Village. It’s a free event open to the community that is 7 years running. Last year, I was in charge of the drama part of it; this year, I took a step back to be Mom. Brian is more vital to this event than I am, so I said ‘no’ (yes, I am capable of that sometimes) and stayed with the kids.
The weather was just fantastic this weekend! Last year, it rained one night and was cold the next. This year, it was nice and warm and just perfect. My big boy loved all of the costumed characters (there’s A LOT) and the puppets in the entryway that “knew his name.”
There’s live music in the sanctuary while you wait to go through the tour (or that you can come in and just listen to), all provided by area groups and musicians, including the Penn State campus that is directly across the street from us!
The drama is in our teen room and this year, it was a parent and their child discussing how Christmas is still relevant to today. The parent doesn’t want to go to the church Christmas program and lists off reasons why – God has forgotten us, God doesn’t care about my needs, God and I are too distant. And each reason is answered by a short Biblical scene – a passage from Isaiah, the sermon on the mount, and Paul in prison. The Gospel was clearly presented and totally relevant, especially after the events of this week.
From there, you go outside to see the living nativity scene. The Christmas story is played along with “Silent Night”, but there’s not a whole lot of movement in the scene. It’s meant to be peaceful and allow you to enter into the scene quietly. It was genuinely a beautiful layout this year and the live animals the kids could pet afterwards was a nice touch.
Back in the building, there’s a gift basket raffle and free homemade cookies and cocoa. Then it’s down the hall to the kid’s area for The Polar Express!
The whole place was decked out like a train station. It was just beautiful. The kids can get cotton candy, listen to a Christmas story, make little crafts (including a nice ornament), get their pictures taken in different places – like with Santa, and play games.
Last of all, outside, a local farm comes in and does free horse rides. This is the same place that gives horse rides in the fall where we take the kids for their birthdays. Very cool.
Normally, we have about 1200 people come through between Saturday and Sunday. This year, we had more than 1200 on just Saturday! By the end of Sunday, 2200+ had come through. Awesome!!
While I was walking the kids through, Brian was busy running sound in the sanctuary and all that entailed… which is a lot since the groups changed every hour or so and so that meant new mics, new speaker arrangements, etc. He would have solos all the way up to full-blown choirs, live music and recorded, guitars, piano, jazz band, and harps. He did a phenomenal job! I’m quite proud of him. Then when everything was all done Sunday, he was one of the last to leave in order to make sure the pastors weren’t going to have to do the bulk of the work alone this week to tear it all down.
This Wednesday at church the kids will be practicing for a little program we’re going to do in a nursing home next Wednesday. Friday evening is E’s first school Christmas program! Saturday is an annual party we do with our closest friends. Sunday, E sings in church with the choir – she’s got a nice solo that I can’t believe she’s old enough to do! For Brian, he’s got to get the duplex done by Dec. 30 and he’s a long ways off. He’s also finishing up the BCM World so it can go out next week!
You can pray that Brian gets his work done as it is a lot more than usual and he’s been under the weather with a nasty cold (as has our daughter) that has just wiped him out today. Pray as well for the Kidz Konnect group as we go to the nursing home – that the program would come together and we’d be an encouragement to the people there. Pray for E – that she wouldn’t be too nervous Sunday and would do a good job singing alone!