We had a fantastic Christmas Eve. After work, Mike, the kids, Krishan, Abhijeet, and Mark went to see National Treasure 2. It was really good. In fact, I liked it better than the first one. Krishan thought there weren't enough clues to solve in the second one, but I really liked the story better I guess.
After the movie, we went through a Carrollwood neighborhood to see the Christmas luminaries. It was just beginning. They were pretty, but we couldn't figure out why they used brown bags instead of white ones. The white ones would have been spectacular. After the luminaries, we went to Idlewild Baptist Church for Christmas Eve. I haven't been to a Baptist church in a LONG time, and it was somewhat nice to go to a new place. It is ENORMOUS. I had heard it was big, but even the street going to it (a private road I guess) is huge. The santuary has 3 levels. It was very nice. However, it loses some of the personal feeling and I like being able to actually see the minister's face without seeing a jumbotron. It was a really nice service though, and he dedicated it to the miliary, police, and firefighters who are protecting our peace. He spoke about peace through Christ the Prince of Peace. It was a nice message. The kids had a story abou St. Nicholas. It was all about feeling good about giving and not just about receiving. I was glad that they had that message for my kids to hear and remember. :) Several times, the minister seemed finished and then he would put his stuff back down and begin again with what seemed like the same thing but phrased a little differently. That is when I remembered the number one reason why I am a Methodist. In Methodist churches, they know how to start and stop a service on time and still deliver their message. It made me think of my old minister who used to end his sermons with "We will finish here so we can beat the Baptists to the restaurants." I always got a big kick out of that. :) Anyway, I really enjoyed seeing the church, loved the message, glad the kids could see it. Then, we all lit the candles and the huge church was glowing. It was SO beautiful. We were in the balcony, so we could see it all. There was a Soldier's Silent Night poem set to music and then everyone sang Silent Night. It was very, very nice.
We came home and had dinner. The kids FINALLY got to open their one Christmas Eve present. Morgan opened her DS Game Catz. Katie got High School Musical 2 on DVD (the EXENDED version). Michael got Ratatouille, and Chris got Pro Street. We played Apples to Apples and made chocolate chip cookies (3 points EACH - I had 2). It was a really nice day.