Dec 31, 2007

Christmas 2007

So much has happened since my last post. My family arrived here on December 19th to spend Christmas at our house! This was our first time hosting family for Christmas and our family's first time traveling for the holidays. It was such a blessing to have everyone here. I'll cherish it forever!
On the 21st my sister, brother in law, Matt and I left all the kids with my parents and drove up to New York City. We spend two days walking around the city, doing some shopping and catching the Broadway show Wicked. It was fabulous!
Over the coarse of the next few days we celebrated my mom's 57th birthday with dinner, attended a Christmas Eve - Eve service, went down to the National and Capital tree, and my family had time to fit in a visit to the air museum and Mount Vernon.
Christmas day was so fun. Everyone stayed in their jammies until at least noon. We opened gifts, Katina made everyone an omelet, and we squeezed in some Guitar Hero before getting dressed and ready for dinner. Matt and I took on the "roast beast" or prime rib, while mom and Katina helped out with some side dishes.
We were joined by our pals the Swansons for dinner and all sat down together to enjoy a really tasty meal. I just can't say it enough - it was so special for Matt and I to be at our house, with my family, and our friends enjoying a really great meal time together on Christmas.
We spent most of our evenings during their visit playing games, laughing, eating, and just enjoying our time together. As usual, it all came to an end too fast. Everyone left on the 29th.
We had a wonderful time these past few weeks getting ready for Christmas, the parties, family visiting, Christmas, and so many fun times and memories. We hope your season was filled with love and joy!

Dec 17, 2007

Costco Doesn't Serve Dinner

The other day I was at Costco around noon and enjoyed a delightful lunch. They served chicken noodle soup, smoked Gouda and Champagne cheese, herb crackers, Lemoncello cheesecake, shrimp, chicken tenders in BBQ sauce, creme puffs, cookies, prosciutto and mozzarella wraps (yum) and a few other treats I don't recall. Oh it was delightful. Around every turn was another bite sized treat to sample. By the time we were done shopping I had a four course meal and was stuffed!
Tonight I was in Costco finishing off my Christmas shopping for the boys and I left hungry. I learned a valuable lesson today. Costco doesn't do dinner.

Dec 14, 2007

Christmas

Below is an article I recently wrote for our church's MOPS newsletter:
Christmas means a lot of different things to different people. Some enjoy the wonder of Santa Claus, as he soars through the sky in a sleigh pulled by reindeer giving gifts to children around the world. Others treasure the picture of Jesus laying in a manger with cows and sheep surrounding him, while a bright star shines in the sky above. People love the Christmas music that plays in the malls while they shop for the perfect gift for everyone on their list. And the beauty of holiday lights brightening the winter sky. There are decorated trees, family gatherings, parties, gifts, special foods, and favorite holiday movies. No matter what it is that moves you, most people find something or everything truly special about this season.
But what is Christmas really about? Is it about Santa, gifts, lights, music, the Nativity? The answer is yes all of the above. All of the trappings and traditions that have grown over the years are part of what Christmas is about. Christmas is a man-made holiday—since that is the case, Christmas is what you desire it to be. It is about a man named Santa Claus who gives gifts to good little boys and girls, it is about exchanging gifts with friends and family, and it is about a scene with Mary and Joseph looking down over their baby in a manger, while an angel looks lovingly toward the new family.
Christmas is a celebration filled with romanticized stories and customs created to commemorate Christ’s birth. But in reality Christmas has little to do with any of these festive traditions. Even the story of Jesus’ birth that is told in songs and children’s books is full of man-made interjections. The story most people come to know is the one where “2000 years ago on the evening of December 25, Mary rides into Bethlehem on a donkey, urgently needing to deliver her baby. Although it's an emergency, all the innkeepers turn them away and they have to deliver baby Jesus in a stable. Afterwards, they all join three kings with camels in worshiping the quiet, newborn baby”.
Truth be told Jesus was probably not born in December, though anything is possible, shepherds usually would have brought their flocks home in the fall. Mary may have ridden into Bethlehem on a donkey but the Bible doesn't actually say how she got there. The bible also does not suggest that Mary gave birth upon her arrival into the city, she could have arrived weeks earlier. God's Word simply states, "while they were there [in Bethlehem], the days were accomplished that she should be delivered" (Luke 2:6). Arriving in town well before her due date would have made much more sense. And Joseph probably never spoke to any innkeepers. Although innkeepers play a prominent part in many Christmas plays, no innkeeper is mentioned in the biblical record of Christ's birth. Most likely Mary and Joseph actually stayed in a house with relatives. Some researchers suggest that Jesus was born in or around the home of a family member but not in a place that would normally be considered guest quarters. It was common for animals to be brought into a home for the evening and therefore a manger would be present. The bible does not specify how many Magi or wise men came to offer Jesus gifts, and they most likely would have arrived to see Jesus as a toddler rather than a quiet baby in a manger.
If you believe God’s word to be factual, and you accept His account of that first “Christmas” night, then the only thing we know to be true is that a baby was born in Bethlehem, he was named Jesus, the Savior, Christ our Lord. Just as prophesied his mother was a virgin and Jesus was conceived by the holy spirit and his father was named Joseph and was a descendant of David. Following his birth angels appeared to shepherds in the fields and declared that Christ was born in Bethlehem and could be found laying in a manger.
When you strip away the glamour of Christmas you are left with one thing and that is Jesus. His story doesn’t have much to offer in the way of a play or a song but the healing, power, and majesty that can be found in that one simple name will change your life, if you let it. The son of God became human flesh so that he could one day walk the road to Calvary and take on the sins of the world to set us free.
It isn’t really about how you celebrate Christmas, what your family traditions are and what you include in your telling of the Christmas story— Christmas is just a day of joyous celebration that changes and evolves as time passes. But Jesus is our source of hope, life and love—take time this season to thank God for His gift to us.

Dec 8, 2007

December Birthdays

Effective 01/01/2008 all persons with December birthdays will no longer receive gifts from the Hernandez family on their birthday in December. This shift in gifting policy is based on the fact that Hernandez family can only come up with one good gift per person in the time span of a month. All parties whose birthday falls in the month of December will receive a call and heartfelt wishes on their birthday, however, all gifts will be received 6 months prior to their birthday. For example people who decided to be born on Dec 23rd (mom and mika) will receive their 2008 birthday gift on June 23rd.
All objections to this ruling will be considered, however, if you opt for birthday gifts and Christmas gifts to both be received in December - one of those gifts will be a "plan B" or "fall back" gift and the Hernandez family will not be held liable for the fact that you will have to return it.
Happy Birthday to all of our friends and family born in December. We hope you have a wonderful birthday!