Tuesday, December 13, 2022

St. Lucia's Day 2022.

 Tonight we celebrated St. Lucia, who brings hope 
and light during the darkest time of the year!
We love celebrating this holiday to honor and remember our Scandinavian
heritage, and also connect the symbolism of Christ, who is the ultimate 
light in the darkness, our preserver and deliverer.
This year was Claire's year to be Lucia, 
Claire helped me prepare for the feast in the afternoon while
everyone was at school. We enjoyed listening to Christmas
music, chatting, cooking, and making Norwegian flag placemats.
Fennel and Chive Salmon
Small Potatoes in Butter a Parsley sauce
Wedge Salad with Spicy Dressing
Cucumber and Dill Salad
Traditional Braided Cardamom Bread
Citrus & Rasberry Salad
After dinner, we had a special visit from St. Luica, who came
to the front door (in the POURING rain) to deliver her desserts
to us. We invited her inside to the warm fire.
Claire had prepared a lovely message for us. She read
a journal entry she had written on her mission.
It was so beautiful, and we were all touched.
In The Bleak Midwinter
by Claire Nielson 12/11/21
"Christmas is getting closer and closer, which is exciting!
I'm feeling okay, to be completely honest. I have been loving studying the 
Book of Luke. I've been learning a lot from 
the teachings of Jesus Christ, and even
though Celtic Christmas music isn't playing and
I'm not hygge-ing it out at home; I really can feel the spirit of
Christmas, and that is special to me.
This sounds bad, but before my mission, I would have said that the best 
part of Christmas for me was the Hygge; chilling at home in jammies while
it's cold outside, and there's a lot of good Christmas treats and Johnny Mathis
singing. And I will always love that part of Christmas, but now, truly, the best
part of Christmas for me is Jesus.
Over the past few days, as I've been studying, I can feel Jesus' love and His
presence. And when I feel it, I get this feeling that I've been missing it.  
It's been really sweet for me.
I've also found a new favorite Christmas song;
my favorite always and always will be "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day:,
but this one is up on the list too

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.
Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what can I give Him,
Give my heart."

"I love the words! It's so beautiful!
My favorite part is where it says, 
"What can I give Him? Give Him my heart."
We talk a lot about gifts during Christmas time. Gifts we'll give
to others, gifts we've received from God, but in this song, we focus 
on the gift we can give to the Lord, the only thing 
He really wants from us; our hearts.
It's a tender reminder of my own humble position and my great
gratitude to God for His Son.
I can and certainly want to give Him my heart."

I served creamy Hygge hot chocolate with Lucia's
delicious cream cheese and raspberry Danish pastries.
We sat around the fire, talking and playing card games.
I made a playlist a few years ago with about 20 different
versions of the song, In the Bleak Midwinter".
(We really love Kaskade's version).

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may 
see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
—Matthew 5:16 

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