with her about Christmas--the TRUE story, the songs, and the festivities. Of course, Christmas is extra special to her because it is also her birthday, but she hasn't yet seemed concerned about the fact that these two special events fall on the same day. It's funny, some people have seemed disappointed for us (or for her) that she doesn't get her "own" special day, but we think it is very special that she was the Father's gift to us on Christmas Day.
We've had lots of fun getting ready for Christmas this year. Perhaps it is because Clara Anne is now almost 3, and so realizes more of what's going on, but it has been a true joy to share
So what have we done to get ready? Well, there's been lots of talk about preparing our hearts for Jesus, and looking forward not only to celebrating his birth but also anticipating his second coming. We've been enjoying putting a small figure on our Advent calendar each day after morning devotions. Also, singing Christmas songs has been a big part of this year's preparations. My mother gave us a Kindermusik CD called "O Come, Little Children" that both of the girls just love, and it has helped them to be familiar with lots of different Christmas songs. One of their favorites is "The Friendly Beasts" which has verses for the various animals that were (perhaps) present at Jesus' birth and the gifts that those animals gave the newborn King.
Look Mommy, I'm helping to trim the tree! (Taken the day after Thanksgiving.)
And I'll pull the ornaments off as fast as you can put them on, Clara Anne!
On Wednesday when Clara Anne and Chloe got together with Emma and Samantha to play, we drew pictures of hearts and decorated the paper with paint to put under the tree as a gift for Jesus--reminding us all that Jesus wants our hearts more than any other thing. Aren't the girls cute in their (totally unplanned) matching clothes?
Clara Anne has even had fun helping me make some cookies. Peanut Butter Star cookies are some of my favorites at Christmastime, and Clara Anne did a good job of licking out the measuring cup used for the peanut butter, licking the beaters, and then placing each star on the cookies at the right time. She loves to help!
John and I have a special gift under (well, actually next to) the tree for Clara Anne's birthday this year--a small bike with training wheels for her to ride. She is so excited about it--she was there when we chose it but we are having her wait until her birthday to open the box (and have Daddy put it together). I hope it will provide lots of hours of exercise, entertainment, and enjoyment!
So how will we celebrate Christmas and Clara Anne's birthday? Pretty simply this year, I think. John and I have talked about making Christmas Eve more of our special, candlelight, family worship service with singing and the Christmas story, then allowing the 25th to be a celebration for Clara Anne. I think that's what we'll aim for this year. We'll probably have a special birthday breakfast and then we gave Clara Anne the choice of what she wanted for her birthday supper. Can you guess? It's going to be homemade pizza, with "a green cake with blue candles, Mommy." Ok, Clara Anne! I think we can do that! Here's our happy Clara Anne opening an early gift from Grandpa and Grandma.
As we have thought about preparing our hearts for Him this Christmas, we are aware, again, of how many (in our city and where you are, too) are not doing that because they have never heard of Him, or believed in Him. This has given us a renewed heart for prayer and sharing as Christmas day approaches. Let every heart prepare Him room!