We had a wonderful wet Christmas this year, and were so thankful that Mama was strong enough to enjoy it with us (albeit from the couch). As many of our friends and family struggled with physical problems this Christmas, some even facing the possibility of death, Lauren reminded me that this is what a "Merry Christmas" is all about--Jesus coming to earth as a Babe to save us from this curse of sin we are hopelessly entangled in. Sickness, pain, toil, and death are our lot because of our sin, but Jesus brought Light, love, hope, and Life to all who will accept it this Christmas season! We rejoice because of this blessed hope within us.
|Left to Right: Melanie, Lauren, Susanna, Mikaela holding Micah, with Jonah underneath.|
After our traditional candlelight Christmas Eve service at church, and energized by our traditional fondue meal, we posed in our traditional pose with the new pajamas we traditionally open on Christmas Eve. (Phew! Who knew there could be so many traditions in one night and in one sentence?) We always pick a different victim...er...person to carry in the picture.
"You won't drop me, right?" Micah asked, somewhat skeptical of the muscular power of his four sisters and little brother.
"Oh no, Micah--we would never drop you!"
After dreaming of sugar plums, we went to church on Christmas morn, where the final candle was lit on the Advent wreath, and the children of the church (below) shared a special rendition of "Who is He in Yonder Stall?" Papa preached the message that morning, expounding on the divinity of Christ, and God's revelation through Him. It was a wonderful time to redirect our focus once again to the point of all our Yuletide celebrations.
When we got home, we opened presents. We siblings always draw names, and it's so much fun to brainstorm and give these special gifts. In the top left corner, Lauren and I pose with the dress I had just given Lauren. Top center, Susanna hugs a soundtrack Melanie had just given her. And in the bottom right corner, Micah shows off the Regency-era vest Lauren made for him (the use of which will be revealed in two weeks' time). Other highlights included the gorgeous tie Melanie made for Papa, the beautiful rings Mama and Papa gave to Lauren and I, the t-shirt bearing Jonah's absolute favorite soda (Orange Crush), the monkey slippers Jonah gave Mama, and the leather hat all the kids gave Papa.
Lauren and I introduced a recipe we had tried only once before to the Christmas feast--roasted cauliflower. By the looks of the dish, everyone approved! It was very delicious, and I highly recommend it.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER with Garlic & Pine Nuts
2 heads garlic, separate into cloves but do not peel
4 large cauliflower, cut into florets (not too small)
12 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
black pepper, to taste
12 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Bring a water to boil in small pan. Using a strainer, add unpeeled garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds. Drain and peel.
3. On rimmed cookie sheet, toss cauliflower with garlic cloves, olive oil, and black pepper. Bake until tender for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring twice. Spoon into bowl.4. Mix together: olive oil, parsley, kosher salt, black pepper, toasted pine nuts, and lemon juice. Toss with roasted cauliflower/garlic mixture.
Our Great Aunt Bev and a dear family from church joined us for Christmas dinner, and we supped on ham, cheesy potatoes, spinach cranberry salad, homemade foccacia bread, roasted cauliflower and tiramisu, almond cake, and Hershey peanut butter pie for dessert.
It was such a blessing to be together with family and friends and to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. What special traditions do you have for Christmas? I'd love to know!