A Russian Christmas

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This past weekend we celebrated Russian Christmas and what fun we had!!  I decided to get some Russian ceramic jars since we were actually making some Borsht for the feast and we could have them out on the counter as a reminder of Rosie and Sam's Russian heritage.  I often forget to have Russian things around and I think it's important to celebrate their birth country and talk about it and know more about customs and traditions.  The day we brought the fun whimsy jars home, we sat at the kitchen counter and had one of the best talks we've ever had about Russia.  We talked about previous communism in Russia and what it meant and how Russians couldn't celebrate Christmas for many many years.  Communism led us into talking about China and the underground church and the persecution.... it was so good to see Rosie and Sam wide eyed and interested in their country and also their little sister's country too.  

We also talked about how they can each pick their favorite jar and and can have them when they have their own family and children.  Rosie picked the borscht and Sam the Shish-kabobs!  (The jars were at Anthropologie...favorite store!) and they were on sale and then on sale again. yipee!) Thank you Terri for telling me about them!

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Can you see the excitement? :)

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We headed over to our friend's, the Whitsons, who also adopted their son from Russia and the same area where Sam was adopted.  It has always been extra special for Sam to have his friend from Russia... there is that bond that he has with Ford that is so sweet!  

Amy had the table set with all the fine china and crystal and it was beautiful!! The kids were sooo excited and felt very special drinking out of crystal glasses and sitting at such a pretty table setting.  I think Ford and Sam realized the extra care that went into the entire evening since it was all about the traditions of their Russia.  Rosie got a little bit of it, but think it soaked in more to Sam and Ford. It was magical sitting down to dinner and realizing we were celebrating not only Russian Christmas.. but also our children as well. 

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You may be wondering, "What is a Russian Christmas?"  So here are some snippets.  First, when the country was under Communist rule, Christmas was not celebrated so they moved gift opening and parties to New Years.  Traditonally, Christmas was on January 7.  But after the Communism fell, Christmas was celebrated again and it was focused just on Jesus and not on presents. Presents and parties were on New Years. I love the distinction between commercialism and then keeping January 7 simply focused on Jesus.

Below is more detail about the dinner from a website I found listed at the end of the paragraph.

"The Christmas dinner in Russia starts when one sees the first star in the sky and then the feast begins.  The Russian Christmas Eve dinner, often called "The Holy Supper," includes 12 foods and is begun with prayers and the father of each family stating the traditional Christmas greeting of "Christ is born!" Russian mothers bless everyone by drawing a cross with honey on their foreheads. Next the Lenten bread is eaten, first dipped in honey and then in garlic, followed by the dishes of "The Holy Supper." These courses normally include mushroom or sauerkraut soup, Lenten bread, chopped garlic, honey, baked fish, oranges, figs and dates, nuts, seasoned kidney beans, peas, parsley potatoes, Bobal'ki (biscuits with sauerkraut or poppy seed and honey) and red wine.

For our Russian dinner, Tyler started with the greeting, "Christ is born! and talked about the white tablecloth and how it symbolizes Jesus wrapped in a cloth.  And then there is hay on the table symbolizing Jesus born in a manger. And the white candle in the center of the table symbolizes the light of Jesus as He is the light of the world.  Amy and I drew a cross on the foreheads and said the blessing: 

 "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, may you have sweetness and many good things in life and in the new year."    Amy and I loved this part and the kids thought it was funny having honey on their foreheads but they liked it too.

For our night, we served borsht that Mike made.. it was soo good. It's a beet, cabbage and potato soup and bright red from the beets... the red is really Christmasy and pretty but the kids said it looked like blood:) Ha! 

We had bread with potatos in it. Salad with apples, poppyseed and cabbage. Chicken with sour cream and of course Russian dumplings and chocolate cake for dessert. 

So fun to celebrate a Russian Christmas and have it centered around Jesus. Thank you Amy for coming up with such a super great idea!!  It was a very special night.... one I will always remember!