This season is off to a wonderful (busy) start. It certainly has been a joyous season so far. Here's some of what we have been up to.
My mom and stepdad came last weekend to visit. It was wonderful to visit with them. I took Friday off from work to spend with them and gave my children the choice to stay home or go to school. I am fairly sure this is the first time I've ever let them take a day off if they weren't sick or we weren't out of town, so this was a big deal. Michelle decided to stay home, but Ella chose to go to school. Part of her reasoning was that she has Girl Scouts on Fridays and she wanted to be there, but she also really loves school. We spent the day shopping and visiting with each other. My sister Suzy came up from Orem and spent the day with all of us. That evening my parents gave my kids their Christmas gifts, and we gave them their gifts. I had read a couple of books about Matryoshka dolls (nesting dolls) to my kids and Michelle said she'd love a set. So when I saw that Seagull Book had nativity nesting dolls, I knew that was a perfect gift for my parents do give Michelle. She also got another webkinz. Ella got a book of Bible puzzles and so did Gabby. There are 6 different books in the set and we now have three. Gabby also got paper dolls. Ella also got anail polish set.
On Saturday, we went to Festival of Trees. There are so many remarkably talented people and so many beautiful trees and other items. It was fun to wander around and see things. My neighbor Jan decorated an amazing tree to donate. One of the best parts is that all of the proceeds go to benefit Primary Children's Hospital.
As I am totally not crafty or creative in this kind of way, I am so impressed by others' talents.
Saturday evening my parents had purchased tickets for Savior of the World, a play/musical based on the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was in the Conference Center. Michelle and I went with my sister, my mom and Mike (my stepdad), my aunt Elaine and my aunt Diane, and my grandpa. It was wonderful. You could really feel how happy and amazed and probably overwhelmed Mary must have felt to have been chosen to be the mother of the Son of God. You could feel the Apostles' fear, confusion and sadness after the death of the Savior because they hadn't understood the Resurrection. I really felt compassion for Thomas as he doubted and wanted to see for himself that the Savior had risen. There was a song about faith and belief that really touched me. And at the end, the apostles went out into the world to share the good news and my heart was filled with joy and a desire to be a better example, a better light to the world. I want to develop a deeper, more abiding faith in my Savior, Jesus Christ. I want to make sure that my children know that He lives and that He loves them and that He atoned for their sins. I want to study the New Testament again and read the words of his Apostles about his life. (And as a side note to that, did you know that if you visit lds.org they have videos about the life of the Savior that correspond to verses from the New Testament? We have a daily advent calendar with scriptures and one day when we were reading the verses online, I noticed a video off to the side and decided to show my girls. It really adds to our readings about the Savior. We've viewed a few now.)
On Sunday, we spent a couple of hours with my parents and they attended church with us. Then we took them to the airport. That evening, Michelle, Ella and I went to a Christmas children's choir concert at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Michelle's friend Kate was performing in the concert. It was beautiful. It was the first time my girls had been to the cathedral, and only my second time going there. And the choir did a beautiful job. It brought the Christmas spirit.
This past Friday, we had our annual street holiday party. It was my turn to plan it, and I will admit that I felt a little stressed out for a couple of days. We had appetizers at our house, then went to Sara's for dinner and the White's house for dessert and the white elephant gift exchange. Our party is so much fun. We really have great neighbors and we laugh, visit, eat great food and have such fun. I really enjoy going.
Saturday was our ward Christmas party. The primary did a live nativity play that was wonderful. We watched a video about kids and what they think of Christmas and a video of President Monson talking about focussing on Christ at Christmas. The spirit was there and I was touched. I was able to help the kids make a cute little craft. My friend Jaylynn was there and I was able to visit with her. It was a wonderful evening.
Christmas is still a little over two weeks away, and already my heart has been so touched and so filled with joy. I am so grateful for this Christmas season and the joy that I feel as I reflect on my Savior. I love listening to Christmas music...all of it, but especially the hymns and songs about the Savior. I'm so blessed.