Monday, December 26, 2016

Twas the day after Christmas......

 Blog for December 26, 2016

This is a still from a video clip. See comments below about Calgary Nativity Pageant
We had a quiet but wonderful Christmas day. Since Christmas occurred on a Sunday, our church services were shortened and we combined with another ward for a musical Christmas program. Kathy and I lead off the program with a duet, “Were You There On That Christmas Night?” This number was the perspective piece, I suppose, to set the stage for the other music that followed which was arranged around the narration of the story of Christ’s birth. The program lasted around 90 minutes and was truly wonderful.

After the program, Kathy and I returned to our apartment to open our gifts from each other and from our families. We listened to Christmas music and Skyped with the families of Kathy’s daughter and son. Later we enjoyed an invitation to have dinner with some good friends in our ward, the Swendsons, and with their adult children and families who had gathered literally from all over the world. 

Two of their sons and families live in Colorado and another son and his family live in Saudi Arabia. Also they have two daughters who live here in Calgary who were there with their families. Another daughter and family live in Connecticut but weren’t able to get away. It was very well organized chaos. We had a great time and the food was wonderful. The Swendsons have become dear friends.

After the dinner we returned home and visited with my daughters via telephone and enjoyed hearing about their Christmases. Daughter Kellie and her family moved into their brand new home in Broomfield, Colorado, two days before Christmas. Daughter Brooke and family are awaiting completion of an expansion of their living space (actually into a part of their garage), and daughter Tana had a baby boy just three weeks ago, which I mentioned in last week’s blog. Daughter Jaime and her husband are buying a gym, which Jaime will run (she was our gymnast daughter as some of you may recall). Kathy’s son, Mike, showed us their now completed basement as we Skyped with them. As you may recall, last March Kathy and I returned to Utah to be there when Kathy’s daughter, Kristi, had her baby. That baby is now nine months of age and so cute and babbling up a storm, so it is a very exciting time for us and for our families. We also heard from Kathy’s son’s family who live in California. We love them all and it was so good to talk to them and get caught up. 

Today the mission office is closed as it is Boxing Day in Canada. Boxing Day is celebrated in Canada, England, and in many other present or former colonies that once belonged to the British Empire. Boxing Day is traditionally the day after Christmas. It gets its name from giving a boxed gift to public servants or household servants together with a day off to be with their families and in appreciation for their service. Some jokingly refer to Boxing Day as a day to return gifts to stores for a refund or to be exchanged for something they wanted for Christmas but didn’t get. More recently the day has become a sort of Black Friday (which is expanding into Boxing Week) at which time stores compete for business with discounted prices to their customers.

During the week we went to a Nativity Pageant, which the LDS Church has put on each year for over 40 years as a gift to the community. 

It is held during the week leading up to Christmas. The stakes in the area take turns putting on this annual event. Despite the weather, people line up to see the pageant, have some hot chocolate, and get their picture taken with some of the animals. The presentations recur every 20 minutes so one doesn’t have to stand too long in the cold. I got some terrific video clips with my iPhone but these won’t post to this blog so look for them on my Facebook page. Also you can go to Facebook and search for where you can see scenes from the event. The scenery is stored at a nearby farm where the animals are also kept.

Also during the week we did the third and last of the Christmas get togethers with the Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Lethbridge East, and Cardston Zones. The format was the same; dinner, gift exchange, devotional, and pictures. It was equally enjoyable as were the others. The Lethbridge weather cooperated nicely; warmer and no wind!

 We hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well. We missed being with our families but, thanks to technology, we were able to enjoy it with them anyway. We love you all and wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

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