now it feels like christmas

I've still got some other things to blog about, but I just have to say that it's finally feeling like Christmas around here. Our house is still a semi-construction zone. I haven't felt the spirit of Christmas as much this year and it makes me sad. I know we have been focused a lot on ourselves lately. Which floor? Which paint color? Where does this go or that? While these worldly decisions are not important in the grand scheme, getting things "done" has taken priority around here--partly just so we can feel sane. We tend to go crazy without organization. But it has felt selfish and taken away from the spirit of Christmas. Not to mention that only a few decorations are up this year and we've hardly done anything Christmasy.

I was feeling sad yesterday realizing that I should be more focused on others. While the children were napping, I slipped away to go to Home Depot yet again. It's quickly becoming our new favorite store. :) Anyways, before I left I had a silent prayer in my heart that something would happen to get me thinking outside of myself.

While I was debating over paint colors, the kind lady at the counter was ever so patient as I narrowed paint choices down one-by-one. The next thing I know, we are having a heart-to-heart and talking about our families and Christmas. And how she wasn't sure how hers was going to turn out. Her life has been rocky and her current situation didn't seem much better. Immediately the impression popped into my head that I needed to invite her to 3rd advent. It was the craziest idea, I know. But I knew I had to do it. I finally mustered up the courage to invite her and she quickly got the biggest smile on her face. She said, "Really?" as if my simple invitation was better than Christmas morning itself. She even asked if she could bring her boys. I gave her my address and phone number and told her I would love for her to come. My heart was so full of happiness. The Christmas spirit was finally present and it felt so good.

Tonight was 3rd Advent. We hoped and prayed she would come. While she never ended up coming, I know that our interaction yesterday was just as much for me as it was for her. I hope she felt God's love for her and even a tiny bit of Christmas magic because I sure did.

Our advent sing-a-long/talent show is my favorite advent night of the month. I love inviting others to our home to share in the true spirit of Christmas through music, stories, and poems. And I love an excuse to make some German-style Christmas cookies.

Grandma and Evelyn. Evelyn's talent was to look cute in her gingerbread man onesie :) 

Blake had a smashing performance of Joy to the World on the piano, if I do say so myself.

Grandpa S played some guitar.
Sarah and her roommate Amy showed off their "household nativity". Creative or what? And then had a rockstar performance of "What Child is this?" on piano and violin. 

Blake digged all the music and kept asking for more. Maybe we should start lessons? :) 
My dad shared a sweet story called Aaron's Christmas tree. 
Carrie played the ukulele. Super fun. 

Lastly, everyone sang some Christmas carols together as Stan and I played the guitar. Tonight was the best. It made me so so  happy.

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