Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Eve and Christms Day with Miranda

It seemed we blinked and Christmas was over this year ... it was a very different Christmas for all of us. We had an amazing celebration of our Savior's birth though, not without some difficult moments with Miranda. Anytime I would begin to feel a little selfish and think I was missing some tradition we normally had around our home I remembered that we are doing Kingdom work this Christmas and God's hand was in our day. Does Jesus really need us to bake a particular dessert to remember his birthday or would He rather have us pouring our love into an orphan who was having a rough patch in her stay with us.

Chrismas Eve had us at church by 11:40 so that Lexi could practice lighting the Advent wreath before the service and meet Pastor Bryant Wright for a photo op. Our whole family was able to enjoy a quick minute with our Pastor before the Noon service and Miranda practiced hard the night before so she was ready and it was so sweet to hear her say "So nice to meet you - my name is Miranda" in her adorable accent.

I was not prepared for Miranda to begin sobbing as the orchestra and choir began to play ... she was unconsolable and we had to just comfort her with hugs. Lexi did a great job lighting the candle and as the service went on Miranda seemed to settle. After church it was on to a very late brunch ... Miranda was still visibly upset and Devin, being the sweet soul he is, begin crying in the restaurant as he felt horrible how bad Miranda was feeling. At one point my selfish heart almost threw in the towel and went home without brunch but, we hung in there and I had a sweet conversation with our waitress who had lost her son a few years ago at Christmas and we discussed our hosting Miranda and her own heart for adopting. {all while Miranda and the girls were in the restroom} One thing I have found is having Miranda here has given us so many opportunities to witness to others - everyone always has tons of questions about hosting and how we came to do such a thing. I am always up front with everyone in letting them know this is not about our family blessing an orphan but, about God showing His love to a sweet girl through us. We have been blessed a hundred times over from this experience ...

After brunch, we headed home to prepare for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Miranda prepared a "chopped salad" the night before that is traditional in Russian culture. I was completely taken back by how well she knew her way around a kitchen. Her expert use of utensils and her ability to prepare a dish without any recipe. Our dinner consisted of filet mignon, company potatoes, chopped salad, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and a tray of sweets.

The girls had made sugar cookies for Santa earlier in the day so those were ready to go.

After dinner it was time for opening our traditional Christmas Eve gifts of new pajamas and blankets - Miranda squealed with delight when we gave her the items. She could not wait to race upstairs and change - then it was time for some pictures and off to bed after reading more from our Advent study. All the kids, including Miranda, chose to sleep in the girls' room. This is a tradition around our home and Miranda was so happy to be included.

Thankfully, the kids let us sleep until 8am. We had a wonderful breakfast of eggs and cinnamon rolls after the kids opened their stockings. It was so fun to see the excitement in Miranda's eyes ... I don't think she could believe all the items she received in her stocking.

We gave the kids a little break after breakfast - read some more from our Advent study and then let them open gifts. Miranda did not only enjoy opening her own gifts but, seeing our kids open theirs. She laughed along with Ava Mae when she opened her new American Girl Doll. And, I loved that Miranda could not contain her excitement when she received an MP3 player ... she jumped up and hugged both my husband and I so hard. {later in the day we sat and put music on it for her ... some Christian artists and, of course, Justin Bieber and Hannah Montanta - so funny to me that kids in Latvia who do not speak English can sing all these songs}

Christmas night was wonderful ... our good friends, The Holcomb's, joined us for a night of fellowship, snacking, singing "Happy Birthday Jesus", and opening gifts. They were so generous with Miranda and gave her gifts that she absolutely loved!

It seemed all to soon the night was over ... my husband and I both fell into bed declaring one of the best Christmas' ever - while hosting is not for the faint of heart it truly brings the true meaning of Christmas into your home when you "Give Christmas Away" - making it about Jesus and loving others more than loving yourself. 

At bed, we were met with notes from Miranda to each of us saying "I love you" ... what an amazing ending to an amazing day.

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