then we get to christmas morning. its weird. we're all getting older. it's just not quite the same when you have to drive to your parents house instead of run down the stairs (which we probably would have done if the upstairs hadn't been ripped apart). but we all got there and sat around opening presents and laughing at caroline, because she's finally old enough to entertain us all.
this year, instead of gifts to siblings, we did donations. we went around and told our stories. liz and jd gave through one million can to provide critical surgeries for children in poverty. david and i gave, also through one million can towards audio bibles in africa and parts of the arabic world where people can't read or printed bibles are not allowed. then garrett and alison shared their train of thought deciding what to give to and how they landed on a local option where they can see the fruits of their giving and donated to liz and jd's adoption fund for baby amos. we were all crying. God has been so faithful to provide for liz and jd's obedience ever since they said "ok, God, we will get this baby. we don't know how we will do it, but you can." and He has been so faithful to provide (jd's company just told them at the end of the semester, that they were going to donate half of the cost of the adoption!!).
we sat crying, as we discussed the picture of the gospel that is adoption. it was amazing. then caroline walked around hugging everyone saying "you- you're ok..."
we had a great day with the rest of my mom's side of the family. a christmas tradition for as long as i can remember.
then we went back to my parents house, and we broke out the cd that the church of brook hills provides for families to go through a time of worship together as a family on christmas day. so we sat there, taking turns reading scripture, listening to music, etc. there came a point where david asks (via cd) for someone or multiples to tell their story of God's work in their life and how they came to know Him. my dad shared (for the benefit of david and jd who had never heard the story) how he had come to know the Lord...and it is an amazing story. i won't go into that here bc a- it's not my story to tell and b- this is already quite lengthy (but dad, if you would like to guest blog, let me know!). but it just an amazing story of God's redemption of a grown man who thought he was smarter than that. ugh, just awesome.
it was just an all around quality christmas. i miss being young and everything being so magical, but i love being old and being able to appreciate things like this. i am blessed beyond words with my family. and i'm super excited about christmas part deux with the ytterbergs (especially because it will mean that liz and charlie's baby boy will be here!)
**pictures to follow at some point**