Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Christmas Gifts

I usually don't take too many photos of Christmas morning and the whole gift unwrapping thing. Nothing against that, but I think it's because Christmas means so much more to me than the unwrapping of the gifts I've purchased for the kids.
If I were to have taken the photos this year that would represent things I really love about Christmas, I would have taken photos of the crowd at the annual Ephipany Catholic/LDS church combined Christmas concert. For 15 years our two congregations have combined choirs to present an annual holiday concert. It is a big commitment with practices each Sunday from October through December and a few extra Saturday rehearsals as the concert draws near but SO worth it. I felt such an amazing spirit as we presented our songs. I loved that Brooklynn and Brenna participated in the orchestra this year.
I would have taken photos of the sugar cookie tradition. As a child my mom would make her "famous" sugar cookies, a big batch of frosting and set it out with colored sugars, red hots, and various other cookie toppings. I loved gathering as a family to decorate cookies and of course eating them afterwards! This year we shared this tradition with two amazing families. The Casper family (visiting from Allen, TX) joined us at our house on Sunday night to decorate cookies. Monday night, the Torbit family invited us over for family home evening and cookie decorating at their house. The very best part was when Maria suggested delivering cookies to various families from church. We chose several families and headed out...cookies in hand to carol and deliver cookies. What a blessing it was to experience the joy of Christmas as we shared with others. It was very obvious by the reaction we received that they were touched by the kindness...interestingly enough, I was the one who left feeling like I had been given a gift!! The gift of a smile, a sincere thanks, and even a few tears. I think we will add the caroling and cookie delivery to our sugar cookie tradition from now on.
I would have taken photos of each of my kids sharing their musical talents at school Christmas concerts. I love that they play Christmas music at a school function! Although we were double booked on a couple of nights and making it to two concerts at once was a little stressful, I really was grateful for the chance to be there to support them and to feel the Christmas spirit.
I would have taken photos of my girls giving an afternoon of service to people they may never even have a chance to meet.
I would have taken photos of Scott and me at a very fun Christmas party...what's Christmas without the suspense of a good white elephant gift exchange?!? We look forward to the second annual!!
I would have taken photos of our family gathered around to read the story of the birth of the Savior from the book of Luke much like I did as a child with my siblings when my Dad would read to us that sweet and life changing story each Christmas season.
I am so grateful for the amazing blessings of the season and for a chance to sing, read, and reflect upon the greatest gift ever...the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I am hoping to do a better job of living a more Christlike life throughout the upcoming year.

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