our Christmas season 2016

How has Christmas come and gone already? I really treasured this delightful December. What joy, that we have Jesus and He came for us, and is going to make all things new one day!! I was reminded of this so often over the past few weeks.

I was also convicted of my own sinfulness, in realizing that sweet traditions themselves are not what should make Christmas special. Seasons change and will change, and nothing will be the same before we know it. Life cannot and does not stay the same. Tradition is not the right place to find my joy, but I've been guilty of misplacing my eyes and affection.

Each day, each month, each year we are alive is a blessing to be able to see and we can rejoice in it because any tiny glimpse of joy and goodness is what God has given us, but one day we will know true joy in all its fullness because Jesus lowered Himself and became a humble servant and sacrifice to save us, to truly SAVE us from living for this life and ourselves. And on that day we will no longer even remember these former things! (Isaiah 65:17)

This life is all pointing us to Jesus, and what is to come! And it's so short. It's so wonderful to have true hope all year, even in the midst of sorrow, heartache, and pain, or even when things do feel happy. (Sometimes I feel all of it at once- do you?)

But oh, this month felt like such a blessing still. You know, life with 6 kids is always lively and full of joy! We had a sweet time together. :)

The children did all the decorating:

Our annual sleep-under-the-tree night (the baby didn't stay long!):

Playing games that made us laugh (and want to cry!) over and over again:

There were babies wearing fleece pajamas:

We had our first foray into sewing crafts, and the older ones did SO good:

We were thankful for friends who bake and then bring you all kinds of goodies!

 We rolled and baked sugar cookies, meaning to return the favor, and then never decorated them: :P

Another friend gifted us gingerbread kits and the kids LOVED doing them!

On Christmas Day, we baked a cinnamon roll star (canned!):

We so enjoyed going to church with my dad on Christmas morning. I was definitely pulling a bit of a Martha fit in my heart the week before, trying to figure out how to actually enjoy getting everyone to church and making lots of food for breakfast and lunch after being gone all day Saturday, but God showered such mercy on this mama and made it so easy for us and it all just worked. It was the BEST thing to get to see our church family on Christmas morning. He was truly the better portion, and certainly to none of my credit!! 

We opened gifts late that afternoon, and I'm pretty sure we all found Ivy-loo's enthusiasm both hilarious and endearing: 

The kids drew names and made each other those sewing craft, and it was so sweet to see them excited about their final reveals.

(oh my goodness, this sweet baby! She LOVED her clothes!!)

We gave each of the children a game, a book, an outfit, and one personal gift. They had so much fun playing Operation with Papa:

And with all the time off, they've been spending hours playing with their old toys too. Legos are THE BEST.

After two weeks completely off, I'm afraid we aren't going to remember how to get back in the routine at all.

Mama included. :)

Happy New Year!! :)