We got a little creative with our outdoor decor. Back in September, Nick brought home some hand-carved wooden masks from the Philippines. I was a little hesitant to hang them up because they are massive (about 5 or 6 feet long each). But he'd already dragged them all this way and they certainly weren't going in our bedroom (scary!), so front of the house won. We decided these guys needed to get into the Christmas spirit as well, so the Three Stooges scored some Santa hats.
Another great reminder of Christmas is the full-size Douglas fir in our living room (pictured above). We've never had the space or the reason to get an actual Christmas tree before, so this is our first together. Consequently, we didn't have a tree topper, so St. Nick improvised by digging in the nearby golf closet, and then reaching for a drill in the tool closet. Viola! Behold, our golf tree, and all the beautiful presents I can't wait to open! (am I too old to be this excited about presents?)
One of the main reasons we decided to go for a big tree this year is because we are hosting our first Christmas! Nick's mom and stepdad flew out last week to spend two weeks with us out here. Russ got SCUBA certified before coming out, so he and Nick have been diving together, while Diane and I have been shopping and snorkeling quite a bit. They are loving the vacation atmosphere our tropical island has to offer, and we are loving having family here. That's one major ingredient to Christmas we are so grateful for this year. Of course, you can expect to hear more about their visit here soon :)
Finally, one other great Christmas reminder appeared this morning when the children and youth from our church did their annual Christmas program. Through poorly memorized lines, questionable (though highly amusing!) acting, and reminiscent Bible verses, they told the Christmas story in between favorite familiar Christmas carols our congregation sang along to. It was a great reminder of the true reason for Christmas, that we don't have to have snow or sweaters or trees or presents to appreciate the real reason to celebrate. The world was a dark place of sorrow and loss until Hope came down from heaven to bring the world what it needed most: Love. Abundant, merciful, everlasting love. Love that lasts an eternity. Love that even conquers death.
|Nick hugging his Mom at the Guam airport upon their arrival!|
Merry Christmas everyone!