i love this song. today we celebrate the birth and life of our Savior, Jesus. when Jesus came, the world was waiting for the Messiah, longing for political and spiritual redemption. the world was in sin and error... until HE appeared. there was hope and the weariness of the world turned to rejoicing... because the promises of old were being fulfilled in Jesus Christ. it's amazing to think about it.
mary, our daughter, is really into the christmas story this year. like really into it! she watches a video about it most mornings after she wakes up and carries "baby Jesus" around all day. i often hear her saying things like this, as she gazes into baby Jesus' eyes...
"do you know who you are? your name is Jesus. you're here at last."
"you are Christ the Lord. you're here, you're really here!"
we've been laughing a lot at her during this time and saying, "what did you just say?!?" these quotes are from her video but as i hear her little voice say them in total excitement and amazement it reminds me of the emotions that Mary and the people of God must have felt when Jesus came. "He's here at last!" they were waiting, knowing that the Messiah was their only hope. today, we celebrate that God came to earth as a child as our Messiah so that we could be reconciled to God. but, this also reminds of me of the longing that should be in our hearts everyday. we are waiting too, for the second coming of Jesus. another line from that song is as follows...
chains shall He break 'cause the slave is our brother
and in His name, all oppression shall cease.
that is what we are waiting for now. i long for the day that Jesus comes back. i long for it because oppression will cease, there will be no hunger, tears, or loneliness. the world is broken and weary. we may not feel it everyday but some people do. but, when Jesus comes back all will be restored. His people will be in families, bellies will be full, addiction will be defeated, relationships will be reconciled... and we will be with God. i want to wait in eager expectation so that when Jesus comes back i can say "you're here at last!"
so, that is what we celebrate and think on today. but, we can't really capture that on a camera... so here are the highlights from our christmas. :)
we start by going to a Christmas Eve service. i'm pretty sure they were singing "O Holy Night"... i mean, look at those singing mouths!
then we go home and read the story of Jesus' birth from our kid's Bible, sing a few Christmas hymns together and watch a few key minutes of the "Navity Story" (a movie i highly recommend but not so much for little kids). kim, leslie and faith joined us for all of our Christmas festivities this year... though there are few pictures to prove it.
the next morning we woke up and opened a few gifts... good times!
faith brought her new latte maker over to make gingerbread lattes! :) she was lovingly staring at the new machine.
and then we played with some of our new toys!
and we can't forget this special gift that came all of the way from sudan... the green reindeer!
luke is gracefully trying to get off the reindeer :)
we did a few other fun things that are not documented by photos. well, danny was actually sick all day so he was in bed almost the entire day (sad!)... but the rest of us stayed busy. the marcus family came over for a yummy brunch, including bacon and apple pie. a friend of mine has a kids' home here (like an orphanage)... people from our church community here were matched up with kids to buy them Christmas gifts. they hosted an open house so we got to give our gifts to the kids and hang out for a bit. it was a nice time. then, we ended the night with dinner together and skyping family in America. :)
we really miss our family back in the states, i especially did this year. we had a wonderful day and are thankful for the simplicity of Christmas in Indonesia. we are also so thankful that we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior today! but every once in awhile i wish the flights to America cost $17 and took 1 hour. we may have been there for a few days this month. :)
yesterday mary wanted to play with the hose so i got out some buckets and ladles for them to play with. it was so fun and they were being so mild with the water play...
and then our favorite neighbors came over... and this happened. i guess little brothers are pesters in all cultures. :) he soaked his big sister!
and the accidentally got his bum in the puddle
"london" (his name is langgeng... but mary calls him london, which i love!) is so fun and i think luke picked up on how to really have fun with water!
and then luke dumped the water on his face and freaked out. look at that face... i was dying laughing!
luke and london, little buddies. we are so thankful for these sweet and fun neighbors who randomly stop by our house and play for hours. they are great friends and examples of kindness (and fun) to our kids.
they they went home and we ended the afternoon with this... :)
mary had her christmas performance a few days ago. man, was that interesting. it was a little more crowded and long than we thought, but we saw her sing her little song she's been practicing at home for weeks. so cute.
my sweet girl! (photo courtesy of ben)
so after mary's song luke and i had to head outside. i was standing in the back with no room to move holding luke. he needed to be set free. so, we played outside and took pictures together. :)
then we went back inside to mary's classroom where she gave us the card and cookie she made us. clearly there was a language issue in the communication regarding this cookie because she was convinced that big cookie was for her, even though it was in our card. we'll blame it on the teacher's language.... or her uncontrollable desire for that cookie.
then we went home and they shared the cookie. i love it when they are little buddies like this!
we had a little birthday party for him a few days ago. it was a sweet time of eating, hanging out and letting the kids play like crazies. i decided to attempt a ball cake for him and after a few hours into my labor of love i decided i would never do this kind of thing again. i would rather play basketball with my boy for 5 hours than bake him a basketball cake. he did think it was cool, so that's good. :)
singing happy birthday... in two languages. the english version was kind of overtaken by all of the indonesians so the rhythm was totally wrong. us americans had a hard time following our own song. it was hilarious!
he wasn't that into the cake. i had images in my mind of him devouring the ball (like i would do now) and he ate about two bites and wanted to go play. he did eat a whole piece the next day. and mary had her share of icing for both of them!!! :)
some of the special people in our life here... and me dangerously holding a knife over eli's head. i promise it wasn't that close.
the next morning we had pancakes for breakfast and sung to luke again. here's mary showing us she is three years old...
and luke telling us he's "DUA!" he says it very confidently with his gang sign.
i will write more on luke soon, but we are so thankful for our little guy and the two years we've had with him. he is so funny and such a lover! we love you, lukey!
last week we received a package from danny's mom... a big, flat box... and it turned into this! a playhouse to color. the kids love it. they colored it for hours. they'd color for awhile, do something else, color again. good times.
and now it's on the back porch and they play in it.
every mom of small children should buy this. it was $15 at the christmas tree shop (but the price to get it here was a little more than that! thanks, grandma!).
this is luke getting ready to do the twist... can you see him lowering that stubby, awesome body. i know, it's hard to see... his legs are short. i love when he dances... and jumps... and runs. he's a bulldozer and has no control of his limbs. mary wasn't into dancing.
luke often just stares off into the distance and i put a camera about three inches from his face and he pretends not to notice. he just poses, in a very "i'm cool and contemplative" way.
mary and some friends doing the fun crafts! thanks for organizing these for the kids! she loved it.
we had our thanksgiving celebration at the lunch room of the international school because there were so many people. it was great because the playground (and soccer practice) were right outside the door. this picture cracks me up. luke stood in front of this kid trying to get his ball or trying to get him to get up and play with him for a few minutes. that is a long time for a 1 year old to stand still and stare at a stranger. he wanted so badly to communicate. it was so cute! luke can hardly handle watching practice... he wants to be on the field (not on the sidelines!) kicking with the big boys.
i have no idea what eli is doing here but i love it... maybe luke was trying to teach him the twist. i love eli and his expressions... and this is one i've yet to see.
speaking of eli and football. i think my favorite part about thanksgiving weekend was friday morning. we went to the marcuses and watched the pats game (LIVE) which we've never been able to do here. the kids played together in a miraculous and harmonious way, like never before. carolyn made chicken chili and we all just hung out. we're so thankful for easy-to-be-with and spontaneous friends here!
one more thanksgiving celebration...
the monday before thanksgiving we did a thanksgiving celebration with the teachers, students and everyone's families from our language school. it was a really fun time and a chance for us to share some of our culture (and food) with them. this is one of our teachers, mas sam... he's funny (obviously) and so good with kids! they all had a great time playing all of the little games he made up for them.
the line of food... and leslie, doing our favorite asian picture pose, with the turkeys! she did so much work to coordinate everything and create little details that made it extra special. thanks, leslie!