I don't know about you, but for reasons I cannot explain, the words of the Christmas carols (that I've heard a million times over the past 30 years) reached a new level of meaning for me this year. I've always loved them and the message of hope and joy they convey, but something was different in 2012. I suppose I've typically been very concerned about the earthly events that would transpire over the Christmas holiday, and for once, I gave all the uncertainty over to God and He filled me with unspeakable joy and hope as I reflected on His son and what His life means to me amidst the chaos of this world. He was born that I might live. How could I not prepare room in my heart?
Reflections aside, I thought I would do a quick recap and show you my Christmas holiday (as in, the entire month of December) in pictures.
**Warning: prepare for an onslaught of about 100 pictures**
As a part of Michelle's birthday present, I got her tickets to the Shane, Shane, and Phil Wickham Christmas concert which was on the first weekend of December. Suffice it to say, it was even better than I ever expected and was such a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season. They were incredible together and the entire night was such a blessing.
The day after the concert, I headed north to the city and while it wasn't really a Christmas celebration (as in, I was there for work), I still very much enjoyed the decorations and had to share some of my pics.
And what screams winter more than a little ice skating adventure? Michelle and I took the girls for their 1st ice skating experience at the Galleria. Obviously, the giant Christmas tree in the center of the rink makes it the perfect place. The girls had a good time, but Michelle and I were worn out. Skating with a 6-year-old and 3-year-old is quite the workout.
Sarah and I hosted a Christmas Dinner at "the clubhouse" which kicked off the holiday party season in a most festive way. There was a ton of food, champagne punch, Christmas tunes, Yankee Swap, and a cookie decorating contest.
Christmas Eve was a beautiful day. I busied myself cooking, cleaning, wrapping presents, and listening to Christmas music. Then it was off to the Christmas Eve service at Watermark and I had the pleasure of sitting with Crystal and her family. It was such a simple, but perfect service and I was so moved by the presence of the Lord and the miracle that we were celebrating. My chains are gone and I am no longer a slave because of Christ. I could go on, but I'll leave it at that and carry on with the pics of dinner at my place. I got to host my family which was such a treat.
Christmas day was a whirlwind and consisted of a LOT of presents (mostly for the girls), movies, brunch, SNOW, Christmas carols, and dinner. I could not believe we had a white Christmas and it wasn't just sleet. We're talking legit snow, 4-6 inches deep. We played outside for as long as our hands and feet held up, and it will forever be such a great memory.
The day after Christmas was very relaxed. We made Christmas cookies, played games (Hungry Hungry Hippo anyone?), watched movies, and spent time with extended family. The day was capped off by the most amazing sunset. If you were in the area, I hope you saw it!
My final Christmas celebration was certainly one of my highlights as it was in Austin (my favorite place in the US) and with my fousins (some of my favorite people on this planet). We got to spend quality time with each other and even took a trip out to the Salt Lick which is always a good time. I'm so blessed to have these dear family members in my life as they are constant examples of Christ's incarnate love for me. It was a very, Merry Christmas celebration!
Whew-there you have it! If you made it to the end, I'm super impressed. And no matter what your Christmas looked like, I hope there was love, peace, hope, and joy that comes from knowing Christ.