09 December 2013

A Merry Kenyan Christmas

It's still hard to really wrap my head around that it's the Christmas season.  It's hot, dusty and there are not any gingerbread latte's at the local place we sometimes go for lunch (although they do have latte's now, thankfully!).  Haha.  Not that we need latte's.  But they make me happy, what can I say.  And seeing everyone snowed in while I'm getting sunburns on my runs, that makes me happy to be here too.

So about Christmas!  On December 3rd, I finally let it set in that it's Christmas time!  I love this season and finding ways to celebrate our King Jesus.  I'm definitely taking advantage of living in a culture that doesn't commercialize Christmas.  Although Claire and I did take a trip to Nairobi last weekend for a friend's wedding and while there we ran into a Kenyan santa!  Oh that was a good laugh.

Santa isn't in much of our celebrating although we haven't completely taken him out.  He's a fun cartoon character to us.  Kinda like Claire loves Cinderella and if we ever meet her one day, we'd take a picture with her too.  Everyone has their own conviction on the issue and that's that!  To me, it's all about where your heart is.

So it's been four Christmas' since we've been here.  It wasn't really planned not to be here that many in a row but we just follow Jesus' leading and it ended up that way!  We were so sad not to be with our families back in Texas this year but at the same time, we're thrilled to spend it with our Mattaw family here.  We are trying to make it one special season for our family here!  So if you'd like to know how you can be part of a Mattaw Christmas, be sure to hop on over to the Mattaw website and read up how.

Around our home though, we are doing our own little family Christmas traditions.  This year I wanted to do an advent calendar.  Who knew there were a hundred and one ways to do it.  If you didn't know, you can click on pinterest and easily find out!  I'm thankful for pinterest around here since our only options are usually to make your own decor.  But at the same time, I rarely get on there so I don't get overwhelmed and see what could be seen as a slacker of a mom.  I also used to think an advent calendar was some weird historical thing.  Turns out to be a simple and fun way to involve the whole family.  With the daily scripture reading, it helps bring us around the table and read daily the story of the hundreds of years telling of Jesus' coming, the hope fulfilled of Him coming into this world and the hope of him returning any day now.

Advent is latin for "coming".  So this season we are teaching our children all about how He came and how Jesus is coming again.

On the 3rd, I searched around until I came up with a simple and fun advent calendar.  After an hour of trying to make one and it getting more complicated the longer I looked, I closed about five tabs on the computer and printed off just a few different sheets to create the calendar.

I wrapped a bulletin board I already had in Christmas paper, tied some string to it and found clothes pins to hold the envelopes.  I found a free printout for the numbers to paste on some cheap brown envelopes I found in town at the store.  Then printed off the scriptures to put in each envelope.  I also saw a few ideas of activities to do everyday and pulled from them and added our own and wrote them down on construction paper to stick in each envelope.  This has been a super convenient way to get in all the little fun and meaningful traditions without me getting to the week of Christmas and trying to cram it all in.  The days we aren't making some sort of treat, I grabbed candies to put in the envelope.  Here's our 25 days of activities.  And notice that the things that need to get done, I made an activity :).

  1. write to grandparents and mail
  2. make gingerbread house
  3. read favorite christmas book
  4. wrap christmas books to put under the tree
  5. make paper snowflakes
  6. read about the nativity
  7. sing and dance to christmas song
  8. make a bird feeder
  9. watch christmas movies and eat spiced popcorn (string popcorn for tree)
  10. roast marshmellows and make smores
  11. clean out toys and give old ones away
  12. shop for present for dad and brothers
  13. help wrap presents
  14. make pumpkin bread to deliver to friends
  15. make up a christmas story and act it out
  16. make snow playdough
  17. have a family game night
  18. give gifts to staff at our home
  19. visit children's ward in hospital and bring fruit and little gifts
  20. make homemade ice cream
  21. make christmas cookies 
  22. color christmas pictures
  23. have a lunch date in town
  24. make a birthday cake for Jesus
  25. Enjoy a day with family celebrating the birth of Jesus!

So we were a few days behind and had fun doing a little catch up!  The scriptures I cut out and put in the envelopes were simple and more for our littles.  Click here to see it.  But then I also printed one more page for our teenage boys to be reading.  And I'm SO glad I did.  Our boys have had fun searching the scriptures and us all sharing what they mean to us.  I was pretty wrecked to hear one of our sons, Daniel, share about his life before he knew Jesus and now what a change it's made in his life.  He opened up to share how his life was so hard sleeping on the streets when he was little and how he had to fight to survive but now what a blessed life he has.  Moments like that are what the season is about, family and Jesus.

We have fun too, it's not all seriousness :).  I heard a good quote by Rolland Baker recently, "if you take the gospel serious enough, you can laugh all the time".  I love it!  The gospel consist of joy.  It can be found in the good and bad.  I know for some, its a tough season and we hope that the true meaning of this season will bring joy in the midst of hardships.  Jesus died so we could live and live abundantly.  So lets celebrate y'all.  On a really hard day for me, I made a gingerbread house with my kiddos and it brought us joy!  It's the little things.  Although this one is far from perfect and almost collapsed a few times, ha.

Merry Christmas yall!


NeNe said...

Sounds like a wonderful Christmas season to me! Blessings each and every day.

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