More Gaudete this week

Yesterday were the boys’ class Christmas parties. Now, I should explain that we live just an hour  north of where we lived last year. In the same state. And yet, most days, it seems like a world away.

In their classrooms, both boys had Christmas trees that, as a class, they decorated. William’s classroom had a Nativity scene in it (which I forgot to get a pic of). In art, the teacher taught Joseph’s class how to draw the North Star which she informed them tells us where true North is and which helped the Three Kings to find their way to Jesus. She actually used all those words. Joseph’s class learned about Befana and William’s class about Los Posadas. Did I mention my children attend public school? And they were encouraged to share about St Nicholas and how their family celebrates?

I arrived for William’s party first (it started earlier than Joseph’s but there was definite overlap). His teacher is on maternity leave but the long-term substitute who was there had the activities under control. Their first activity was to break a pinata. William wasn’t feeling well enough to rush the candy but he did take his swings.

That’s the traditional donkey pinata, William waiting with his class, William taking a swing and his little friend J helping Mrs Antinori, their substitute, swing (she broke the pinata open when all the kids had had a turn). It took a bit longer than expected for the kids to break the pinata so when it was done, I had to go to Joseph’s class.

In Joseph’s classroom the teacher just had food and it was very relaxed (keep his teacher in your prayers she is undergoing surgery today). She didn’t plan any activities because over the last couple of weeks the kids “applied for jobs” and “earned money” making various Christmas ornaments and decorations. They then used their “money” to shop with another classroom for  decorations. After their snack she allowed them to take home the extras they made. Parents and kids mingled and had a great time.

That’s their class Christmas tree and my “grinchy” boy eating a green cupcake.

I took the kids home after their parties (Shelby’s class has only five children and two are out of the room over half the day while another has been out with health issues, so her teacher did not have a formal party). The boys enjoyed telling each other about their respective parties.

When we got home we watched a movie my mom had sent for the kids entitled O Holy Night from Herald Kids. It features a Franciscan Friar, Brother Francis, who teaches about the events leading up to Jesus’ birth. While I think it was a little below Joseph’s “level” as it were, he said he did learn something…that the shepherds visited Jesus the night He was born but the Kings were not there that night. They both enjoyed it though. I really enjoyed how Biblical the re-telling of events was, particularly those surrounding the birth of John the Baptist and Joseph’s visit from Gabriel. Those are things I think tend to get swept up in the story but that are undoubtedly important.

Jeff had a meeting at school so we watched A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation before, during and after dinner.

Yesterday was probably our most joyful Advent day thus far. Which brings us to today. The last day before Christmas “break.” This day reminds me of endtimes. We used up all the lunch supplies packing. And because I didn’t feel like cooking either pancakes nor eggs, certain children ate Little Debbie snack cakes for breakfast. If that doesn’t shout “GAUDETE!” at you, I’m not sure what will.

Praying we find a tree…any tree at this point this weekend…and keep searching for that joy no matter what!