This is Papa making his first blog entry. Shockwaves! Some explaining I suppose is in order. First off, this past Friday I participated in a Christmas party that was a very meaningful experience. I would like to share this time where Chinese and American cultures intersected. Keep in mind that we are now a family of six so while Mama stayed home with the newborn and Lu Ming I went to a friend’s cozy home with a lighted Christmas tree, evergreen garland where crown molding would be and the sweet fragrance of cinnamon in the air. The party introductions were already in progress and 14 college students in addition to my family and my friends’ family were getting to know each other. English was spoken as expected and I was asked to share with the group what Christmas was like for me growing up in America. My friend briefly shared about the dangers of the busyness and buying frenzy of the season clouding the true meaning and celebration of Christmas – Jesus Christ’s birth. Cinnamon “cookie” Christmas ornaments were made over conversations about Christmas, heaven, and many questions about faith issues. After we reconvened, the Christmas story was read from Luke 2 – each person in the room reading one verse. My friend opened the time up for questions and he shared insights about the three gifts given to baby Jesus – frankincense, gold and myrrh. Gifts fit for a priest, a king and someone who was to die. Given to a baby…. rather prophetic! We had a time for true American treats – chocolate cookies, spice cookies, and apple cider. We also had a more traditional Chinese treat “juzi” (tangerines/small oranges) and sunflower seeds. We listened to the Christmas carol “Away in a Manger” and then sang this in English and Chinese. There were a lot of smiles, laughter, fun and fellowship. Too soon it was time to take Ya Hui and Meng Yuan home for bedtime. I think nearly everyone in the room came to the door to say how much they enjoyed us being there and to have a Merry Christmas! We wish all of you our dear friends a Merry Christmas likewise!