Weekly Highlights 15th December 2013

imageChristmas 2013 is virtually here. We finally put up our Christmas tree and decorated it and Matey was very thrilled. I was tempted to forgo the lights as that is what takes me the most time in the setting up and packing up, but Matey was insistent. I am glad that I relented (even though it was only one strand of lights instead of three). The first thing Matey does when he gets up of a morning is go to the Christmas tree and put on the lights. I need to remember to look at Christmas through a child’s eyes and wonder afresh.

Unpacking the Christmas decorations boxes is always exciting and brings back memories from previous years with the ornaments collected over the years. When we unpacked, we realised that we had a whole lot of baubles with the different names of Jesus on them. Last year I had the kids write in texta on a bauble a different name or character trait of Jesus each day leading up to Christmas. It was special to look again at the names they had written and place them in the vase on the dining table for us all to remember again this year. The challenge this year is to come up with different names for Jesus than what is already written.

A highlight for the whole family was going to the production of the Christmas story, ‘Road to Bethlehem’. It is put on in Melbourne by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and it was fascinating to watch Matey’s excitement and awestruck wonder at each dramatised scene. I must confess that I had tears in my eyes at the scene of Mary with the newborn baby and the angel choir in the background singing the Hallelujah chorus. Powerful stuff. A real spiritual experience for us all.

We participated in a nativity play at the kids club held at the church around the corner from our house. The kids attend every week and this week was special with the parents invited to join the nativity play as well. When you participate in it, it brings a whole new perspective.

We have a number of nativity sets throughout the house and I am always fascinated how Matey loves playing with them and shifting the characters around. Every day he spends time with different sets acting out the story and changing the characters positions. Matey is turning eight years old next week and this seems to be an extra special year for him with the whole Christmas story.

Our family put on a street get together/picnic type gathering for the residents in our street. Over 60 folk turned up and it was a great time of meeting new residents and chatting with the neighbours. It was special this year as the conversation turned quite deep at various points as spouses were reminiscing about their partner who had died throughout the year or various health or family hardships they had been through during the year. I was fortunate enough to pray for a young lady having surgery the next day and to share my faith with another lady. Princess was excited as she got to know a girl a similar age to herself. This family tend to keep to themselves and it has been hard to form any friendships in the past.

Books 4 Cambodia: The Books 4 Cambodia project has dominated our household the last few weeks as we have been inundated with books from schools finishing for the year. Hubby has spent most days driving around Melbourne picking up boxes of books from schools. I have been busy sorting and packing books. The kids have been helping shift and sort books as well. We are all at saturation point as books are everywhere we look at home. Thus, this next week we are taking a week off from sorting and packing, just collecting. The fantastic news is that we have reached the 30,000 book mark!!! We still have several more schools and a church to collect from this week but we now have all the books we need. It is a huge relief and such a milestone. Worth celebrating, a huge effort!!

Royal Advocate: Princess has always had a fascination and love for the Royal family. She adores Princess Kate and the Queen is her second favourite royal. We only ever listen to the radio whilst in the car and we were driving on Friday when the local 89.9 LightFM radio was having a poll about the most newsworthy item for this year. You could SMS in your opinion. Princess SMS’d her opinion of the birth of Prince George as the most noteworthy news item especially as it is the first time in history that there has been three generations of heirs to the royal throne all alive at the same time. Clayton, the broadcaster was obviously impressed with Princess’ knowledge of the royal family and rang her up and invited her to be his “Royal Advocate” whom he would contact, or she could contact him, whenever there was a newsworthy item on the royal family that he wanted some advice or news on. Princess was absolutely thrilled!!

Ministry times: Wednesday night was the end of year celebration for the church’s Healing Rooms. This is something we participate in as a family, so we felt it was important to all go along to celebrate the successes of the year. All too often the kids are left out of the celebrations or hearing the good stuff and we try and include the kids the whole way along so that they can see the results of what has happened. It was a great night and we all enjoyed it. The kids loved sharing their vision for the Healing Rooms for next year.

imageOn Friday we participated in helping to put on a BBQ for the Taxi Drivers and the local factory workers who operate opposite the church’s premises. We had to supply three different slices so Matey made 120 chocolate balls, Princess made 80 pieces of Mars Bar slice and Matey and I made a huge banana cake. Both kids enjoy cooking so they loved it. We spent five hours in the church car park as we helped with the setting up, the actual event and the cleaning up. Things like this are great for the kids to help them see the bigger picture and how they can reach out to other people they wouldn’t normally have contact with. So much in life is ‘caught’ not ‘taught’. Fortunately with homeschooling, they can miss a day of formal schoolwork and this can be their ‘schoolwork’ for the day.

In this season of advent, I had been tempted to make up a jar with 25 different ‘other people focussed’ activities for the kids to select one per day to do in the lead up to Christmas but, as hubby pointed out, we are already doing a lot of big and small things that are impacting other people. With the everyday activities that the kids are implementing with neighbours and service providers etc, they are fulfilling my idea without my having to actually formalise it into a project.

I am always on the lookout for great activities to do in the lead up to Christmas and even on Christmas Day as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The kids usually bake a chocolate birthday cake for Jesus and we sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Him on Christmas morning. Have you any other ideas that you can share with me and my readers in this special time of the year? I would love to hear them. Thanks.