My experience has been, that recognizing and being grateful for those sweet and simple moments that touch our hearts is what makes life most meaningful and memorable. You can't make them happen, they just do. And you smile, offer a little prayer of thanks, take a picture with your heart, and know. And then they happen even more often. That's why I love Christmas so much. It's filled to the brim with opportunities to find and cherish those little moments.
I purchased this Fisher-Price nativity collection for the girls this year.
They love it and play with it often.
Madi had it all to herself a couple of weeks ago and I watched her hold the baby Jesus in her little hands and just look at him. I wondered what she was thinking until she asked me, "Grandma, is this 'a child of God'?" It was one of those sweet little moments when you want so much to say just the right thing. I simply replied, "Yes, that is Jesus and he is a child of God, and so are you."
I know that each December as I unpack the Little People nativity, I'll remember that moment.
Last year Ella went with our friends the Lindleys, to a live nativity up the road in Alpine, Utah. She talked about it all year and really wanted to go again, so we added it to our activities advent list. We took both girls this past weekend. Ella felt so important being the "leader" and showing us how things worked and where to go.
We walked up the hill with Roman soldiers on horses directing us that "all are to be counted." We walked through Bethlehem and saw live camels, llamas and donkeys. We met the three wise men who told us the significance of each of the gifts they gave to the infant Jesus. And we watched actors work with leather, metal and wool.
As we sipped hot cocoa, we walked to another barn where a quartet in the loft was playing Christmas music. I knew what was coming and the emotion began to surface. We were just outside the door and could hear a sweet newborn crying. I didn't even try to hold back the tears. The sight that welcomed us was so beautiful--Mary, Joseph and the newborn babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. It was so noisy outside, but in that humble little room in the corner of a barn, it was quiet, and everyone spoke in whispers.
I watched the sweet couple as they tried to comfort the crying baby. I could feel their anxiousness as their efforts, at first, were unsuccessful. And I realized, as first-time parents, Mary and Joseph would have had those same feelings. I took in the surroundings and felt humbled. It was a sweet moment witnessed and it brought the scripture account in the New Testament of the birth of our Savior to life.
I mentioned last year that one of the things I loved most about the Christmas season, was crawling into bed each night and reading a series of scriptures that followed of the life of Christ. I looked forward to that time and enjoyed feeling the Spirit as I read.
The list of scripture accounts is from a scripture advent our primary leaders handed out to each child to read with their family. It's a good one. I wanted my older children to have the same list, so I created a more "grown up" version just for them. (Truth be told, I also had a hard time reading the other versions--yes, this was the year for bi-focals and I love them!). If you'd like your own copy, download here. I know it's a little late, but you can easily catch up. (The original was found on Sugardoodle, taken from the December 2008 issue of the Friend magazine.)
I hope your Christmas season is filled with many sweet moments.