What a whirl wind! To say the week before Christmas is busy, is a total understatement! There was so much excitement the whole month of December about all of the Christmas festivities! One of the fun events included a beautiful concert at school called Angel Alert. The children were so proud of their hard work and were happy to sing their songs. They all did such a beautiful job! I had a mixture of that "proud mom" feeling but then also a feeling of sadness. All of the kids worked so hard and were glad to perform for us but we are not a real true family as much as we try to be. The kids didn't have parents of their own taking proud pictures of them and sitting in the crowd waiting for their child to spot them so they could wave wildly at them up on stage (maybe the waving wildly part is just me??). We did our best to hug them and tell them all what an amazing job they did but a little part of me still wished that their biological parents could be there to see how amazing each and every single one of these children are. It was a weird emotion to process at that moment. One I didn't expect.
Once Christmas break was in full swing we got to be part of a progressive dinner that CSC has done for years. Our house was the appetizer spot and we got to tell the Christmas story from the wise men point of view. It was so fun to have all of the children at our house (at different times during the evening, I would not have survived 70+ people in our small little house :) ). We were able to share a little of Christ's love and enjoy some yummy appetizers of bbq mini hotdogs, a local nutty snack mix, and some shanghai lumpia, which is a local fave. We also had some gold chocolate coins to hand out since one of the wisemen brought gold for baby Jesus. We were told our house was the favorite stop. I am guessing it had a lot to do with the chocolate ;)
Visitors!! We were blessed by the company of our friends from "back home". Kate and Anna Pearson came to hang out with us this Christmas for a few days. We were so incredibly thankful to spend some much needed time with "family". We loved showing them around CSC and our city. We enjoyed eating some local delicacies with them as well. Our time was much too short but glad we had a few days.
Christmas Eve was as wild and crazy as expected. 3 santas made an appearance, 2 impostures and then the real deal. The kids were so full of energy and thought that it was so funny to have 3 santas show up. Isaac and Carter even got to play santas elves. So much fun was had by all!
Christmas Day was spent mostly at the shelter. We enjoyed a birthday party at noon and then a Christmas dinner with all of the fixings of Ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and cookies were enjoyed! After that we were able to participate in a living nativity acted out by Jake and I as Mary and Joseph and Isaac as a shepherd. Mady was content on just watching the action and Carter was not feeling well that night so he sat on the sidelines to enjoy the show as well.
All in all it was a wonderful first Christmas in the Philippines. We were so thankful for Kate and Anna to be able to join us to keep our minds off of the family and friends that we were missing out on at home. Living here has its give and takes. We don't get to celebrate these things that we would traditional celebrate with family but at the same time we are standing in as family to so many children here at CSC until their forever family finds them. I am okay with that, as hard as it is sometimes, there is beautiful silver lining that God has been showing me lately.