Archive for the ‘Family Events’ Category

Snow days

December 17, 2008

Well, we’re going on our third snow day here in the Portland area, and the fun is just unending here in my house: ceaseless sledding, Christmas treats and other baked goods popping out of the oven, and lots of snuggles by the fire trying to keep our poor frozen bodies warm. Tonight we played Uno and the kids were NUTS; Henry completely lost it at one point and was laughing so hard his face did that weird contortion thing that happens when you go past the point of polite laughter to the edge of peeing your pants. Good times!

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Christmas at the Grotto

December 11, 2008
the grotto
Image by errrrrrrrrika via Flickr

Last night as a family Christmas present, my mother in law took us to Burgerville (hazelnut shakes nom nom nom) and then to the Grotto, a Catholic shrine dedicated to Mary that features a large Christmas display every year – lights, actors, singing, concerts, etc.

It’s great. I’m not a Catholic (although I have been investigating Catholicism – seriously) but it’s so reverent and holy there. Even the kids were quiet as we listened to the Christmas story, watched the candles flicker, and quietly paid homage to this strangest yet holiest of stories.

I’ve been struck this year by how odd it was for God to come as a baby. Babies are so helpless, yet so utterly charming and kissable. Even when they keep you up all night screaming, you still can’t help but snuggle their baby chub and hug them close. And Jesus was a baby – Mary had to know that he was God, right there in her arms, yet still….that tummy wasn’t going to kiss itself. There’s nothing in the Bible that says Mary didn’t mother Jesus like he was a regular baby (if there is any such thing as a “regular” baby, that is!). It makes me smile to think of it.

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The magic of Advent

December 1, 2008

This year in our effort to de-commercialize Christmas, we are celebrating Advent. In the evangelical Covenant church, this includes Scripture readings and the lighting of a symbolic candle every Sunday until Christmas Day, when we read the Christmas story and light all the candles.

Last night was our first Advent celebration. I had marked all the readings ahead of time, and the kids took turns reading them. Henry read the Psalm, and while we couldn’t understand most of what he said, I could still feel the magic of Advent, the stillness and deep meditative spell wrap itself around us. James read from Jeremiah, Emma from Romans, and Dean from Matthew, then I finished with a reading with Luke. We prayed together as a family and lit the candle.

There’s nothing inherently magical about this whole process, but something happened. We all were quieter, more contemplative, and less rushed (for at least a little while!). I’m looking forward to next Sunday when we do this again.