Away in a manger..


 On Sunday we woke up early to get ready for church and to get some cute Christmas photos of the kids before food was spilled on sweaters and holes were torn in the knees of their pants. 057




After arriving home from church it was a group effort to get all of us and all of our Christmas supplies out the door! We were taking the trailer because with 6 people and a dog (Bailey was coming with us because she couldn’t be left alone) our suitcases, bedding and gifts weren’t going to fit in the car.  As Toby attempted to load the trailer the older kids fed animals, packed their bags and got ready to go. Tyler was having a rough day. I knew he was nervous by his behaviors and actions. I’ve known all along that Christmas was going to be tough on him. He was missing his old home, still scared that Santa wasn’t going to come because he was a “bad boy” and nervous about meeting a new family member (my grandma who we call G.G.) We thought, as Tyler was on his 3rd trip to the fence post, that maybe we should put off going until later in the day but Toby thought it was the anticipation of going that Tyler was struggling with and the sooner we got there the better things would be so we pushed on and were loaded and headed down the driveway 2 hours later. It turns out that Toby was right. Once we arrived at the Homestead all was well and Tyler had a wonderful time.

030Before we left we opened our last “Christmas countdown stocking.” We have little stockings with the pieces of a child’s nativity set in them. Each night as part of our family scripture time one of the kids gets to open the stocking and add the newest piece to the nativity set so that the nativity set grows over the month of December. Rusty had the last stocking and when he opened it up it was baby Jesus. Rusty carried the baby over and placed it in the manger. Well Tyler had a fit! He still doesn’t quite get the story of baby Jesus and when he saw Rusty place him in the hay he was so upset. He came running to me to tattle. “Momma, Rusty put that baby in the animals’ food!” Rusty, defending himself, said “That’s where he is supposed to go!” ” Nuh UH!” yelled Tyler ” Babies don’t go in hay they go in a bed!” He was upset that Rusty would treat the baby so badly and put him in the animals’ hay trough.

As I thought about Tyler’s indignation I remembered a poem I once read:

“Let the stable still astonish:

straw-dirt floor, dull eyes, dusty flanks of donkey, oxen;

crumbling, crooked walls;  no bed to carry that pain,

and then the child, rag-wrapped, laid to cry in a trough.

Who would have chosen this?

Who would have said, “Yes, let the God of all the heavens and earth be born here, in this place?”

Who but the same God who stands in the darker, fouler rooms of our hearts

and says, “Yes, let the God of heaven and earth be born here

in this place.”

– Leslie Leyland Fields

We arrived at the Homestead safe and sound.On Christmas eve, after having a fun dinner of appetizers and dips, we all put on our winter coats and hats and hiked through the cold, dark night to the barn  where my dad read the story of Christ’s birth from Luke. As we sat in the cold barn, smelling the scent of hay we created memories…what sweet, special memories! We then sang “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night” before feeding all the animals and putting them to bed. What a blessed way to remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas and a perfect way to end the night!

George listening  to the Christmas story.

George listening to the Christmas story.


The kids sitting in the barn listening to Pop pop read from Luke


Tyler and one of Mimi’s chickens.

Even the goats want to participate in the Christmas story!

Even the goats want to participate in the Christmas story!


Even one of the wise men showed up to help out 🙂

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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