Every year on Christmas Eve we begin our Christmas celebration by having our "Dinner at the Inn." One of Andy's family's traditions was to serve beef noodle soup each year on Christmas Eve, so we just expanded on the idea...and created a meal similar to one that we imagine a group of humble shepherds may have eaten the night that the Savior of the World was born.
The kids really look forward to it...I use our most humble place settings and tablecloth...and we serve homemade beef noodle soup, homemade Challah bread, olives, cheese, and milk. We love it.
Afterwards, we get all dressed up to do our Nativity play! This year, Matthew wanted to be Joseph again...His Jedi costume came in handy...
and a leopard headwrap was perfect...
Rachel wanted to be the Angel again...
And me? Well I was going to be one of the shepherds with Lainah...but first I started getting silly with my scarves and Andy just couldn't resist snapping some pictures.
Taylor, who likes playing the wisemen (yes, all three) was so excited to have some real Frankincense this year. Usually we just use a cologne bottle and fake it. This year we were "legit."
And here he is...the wiseman...he had me laughing all night long. There are no words...
Here's our beautiful angel!
Joseph kept "sleeping" on the job. Apparently keeping watch over Mary got a little tedious at times.
And Brooklynn wanted to be our Mary yet again. I think its funny how each of the kids have tried all the parts and have kind of settled into one that they really like.
And well...little Emma really didn't have a say this year. She got to play the best part of all, baby Jesus, complete with a mechanically swinging manger. And a binki. Too cute!
When everyone started to gather around her, she just had this look on her face that said, "you guys are so weird." It was too funny!
And Addy was a shepherd with Lainah and I...she really does look "sore afraid" of Rachel the Angel.
This year, Lainah chose our flocks. A purple dolphin, a pink teddy bear, a pig, and a puppy.
They might be strange sheep...but they were very well-behaved.
Okay so Rachey really likes to get into her part.
Andy was our awesome narrator again...keeping everyone in line, and trying to keep us all on task. We tend to get side-tracked really easily around here.
Then he jumped up to be a wiseman with Taylor. I love that they are both using swiffers as staffs. The funny look you see on Tay's face is because I asked Andy to say his lines using his awesome Scottish accent. Taylor decided to join in too. Apparently to speak Scottish Tay has to grimace.
And apparently Tay isn't the only one. Andy really got into it. Next year, I may have to make them kilts...or at least buy some plaid fabric to drape around them.
By the time the wisemen finally made their long journey to Bethlehem...the babe was out of the manger and onto Mary's lap...and very interested in grabbing the gifts they were offering.
You'd think that with all of this laughter and "organized chaos" that the spirit of the story would be lost. But no...part of the narrator's part is to bear testimony of Jesus Christ and His divine mission on the earth, and as soon as Andy started to talk about his love for the Savior...everything got quiet, and you could feel the spirit in the room. I love this tradition.
I wrote this nativity play a few years after Andy and I were married. I quoted directly from the scripture accounts of the Savior's birth from the Bible, and added in Hymns and primary songs in appropriate places, and also added in the part at the end where the narrator bears testimony to the group of the Savior.
It has been a special part of our Christmas tradition to start out each year with our Dinner at the Inn and Nativity Play...I love feeling the spirit of Christ in our home on Christmas Eve, and enjoy watching the children change and grow each season.