Sunday, December 02, 2012

Kokeshi Nativity Set

I've seen this set in the homes of those who have been assigned at Yokota. I was thrilled to find this online at Kokeshi Designs. I've been in contact with the founder of the company - Sharon.  When Sharon lived in Tokyo she contracted with a local artist and Kokeshi doll dealer to create this set for herself. Others saw it - the rest is history. Naomi lives in Japan and is the vendor you see around Tokyo. 

The set is $245. I know that seems spendy but small Kokeshi dolls do sell for $25 - 50 and this IS a 9 piece set. It is also very unique; Japan is not a Christian nation and I've not seen any other complete nativity set in the country. I've looked for over three years. The price is already reasonable for what you get and they will not offer a group discount. Also, she is sorry they've not made it to Misawa, but at this time there are no plans to do so. 

Your current buying options are the Yokota Bazaars and the Lester Navy Gift Shop in Okinawa. You can also order this set, many other dolls and Christmas dolls at Kokeshi Designs.  I have ordered the set. Michael said to do it as he knows I've been looking since we arrived.   If you live in the states they will ship to you via USPS. They DO ship priority to APO/FPO etc. If you live in Japan, they will ship via Japan Postal system. 

From the website:  Kokeshi dolls are handcrafted wooden folk art dolls made by Kokeshi artists in Japan. We know the artists and their families and share their passion for the beauty and uniqueness of the Japanese craft of Kokeshi dolls. Each kokeshi doll comes in its own box with the artist’s information in Japanese on the box. The package makes a lovely presentation and can be gift wrapped. Let us do the work for you!

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

What's in a Name?

Note this was written as note on the PWOC Japan Region Facebook page, but I thought some of the thoughts are worth capturing here as well. 
Psalm 8 begins, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth….”

The Bible reveals Jesus to us; the names of Christ are part of the revelation. Our family used to try to focus on EVERY Advent activity we came across. Our Advents were hectic and scattered. We’ve learned to simplify….part of this has been a choice to  yearly focus on EITHER the Jesse Tree tradition (tracing prophecies of the Messiah through the word) OR the names of Christ.  This year we focus on the names of Christ. I invite you to share the journey this season as we consider the names of Jesus.

Why focus on the names of Jesus? In every culture a name is important. Parents spend hours considering the implications of each possibility in the weeks before the arrival of their child. We are going to spend the next 23 days considering the implications of the  names for Jesus before we celebrate His arrival as God in flesh, with us.

Names were even more significant in Biblical times. A person’s name denoted  character or something related to the current time period in which a person lived. Have you considered how often people’s names seem to have changed in the Scripture? Meeting Jesus transforms our characters. People were given a new name to match their new character.  Consider Abram  became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Saul  became Paul, Naomi  thought she was Mara but in the end realized she was indeed Naomi, Jacob became Israel, and Simon became Peter.

You may find it meaningful this season to  consider the names you have called yourself or the names others have called you. Have you been transformed since walking in deeper intimacy with Jesus? What new names has He given you?

There are over 100 names of Jesus mentioned in Scripture. Why so many?  There are so many facets to Jesus quite possibly we need 100 names to begin to fully describe His character. Names are also restrictive – there are limitations to what is conveyed by one name. No one name can begin to define or describe Jesus.  His name is majestic in all the earth.

What’s in a name? Identity. Intimacy. Revelation.

I hope to post at least one name of Christ daily. These will be brief. I invite you to consider the impact of Jesus’ character and identity on history and in our daily lives. We’ll use the revelation of Christ as a  springboard  to worship our Savior, the babe born in the manger.  We will not cover 100 names.  I invite you to share the daily names of Jesus status reports on your PWOC pages and your personal pages. Feel free to share this note on your  PWOC and personal blogs –  just tell folks to search “PWOC Japan Region” to find our page and join the journey.

I believe knowing WHO Jesus is deepens our intimacy with Him, strengthens our love for each other and calls for a more vibrant worship of Jesus, the Christ.

Worshiping with you is pure joy.
De’Etta Goecker
PWOC Japan President

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

First (and second) Day of Advent

We've done a few types of Advent countdowns in the past: candle countdown (we can't burn candles  per our lease),  activities for each day; scavenger hunts with small gifts for each day. Click the colored words to read past posts.  We are SIMPLIFYING this year. We are doing Names of Jesus and not Jesse Tree, one simple devotional and not three,  etc. We wanted one advent countdown. I was leaning towards ACTIVITY....the kids and Michael were leaning towards SCAVENGER HUNTS/GIFTS.  I took the challenge to Let.It.Go.  and easily gave in. 

Sunday afternoon found Michael running errands and Arielle and I in the BX looking for 25 gifts. The key is small. In year's past we've gotten each child something. In a God-given moment of inspiration Arielle and I focused on gifts which the family could then USE which would provide some fun family memories and activities. When I shared this with Michael he was thinking along the same lines. I learned again letting it go isn't terrible.  This will be much easier than trying to keep with 25 activities and we'll still be making fun memories. The kids love the hunts. 

Michael wrote clues. Arielle and I wrapped and wrapped....and then we were ready to really kick off our advent season.

Um...first we had ANOTHER instance where I did not fare so well in Letting.It.Go. It just seemed to me the hints needed to be IN the calendar, behind closed doors, eagerly anticipated and waiting to be revealed. I loved the symbolism and parallels to waiting for Christ to be revealed, while discovering the clues and hunting for him. Michael had another plan. He did it my way. The in-focus-full-face-photo reveals the tension this caused so we'll go with this Christmas perfect photo. ::snort::

Finally, the kids gathered in the living room with us and we were ready to KICK OFF. We can't find Jotham or any of his cohorts this year. We are focusing on the names of Jesus. 

FIRST I had to apologize to Michael and I did. I am trying hard to learn. All was forgiven and the festivities continued. Four of the six of us had covered our Advent Devo verses together in Sunday School - so we brought the other two up to speed on "Hope". 

We read a verse, discussed what it means that God is WITH us, and sang O Come, O Come was epic. We need Bre to make sing-alongs really fly; but we certainly have lots of laughter trying.

Clue number one - picked by Stacia, read by Zander, "I LOVE MY DUCKY." I prepared for the onslaught as they processed...they were either going to go find our UofO stuff or head for the bathrooms.  Either way they would be coming up the stairs...They went BOTH directions at the top of the stairs...making photo taking difficult. ::snort:: 

Finally, someone asked if they could enter our room. ::snort:: It may have helped when I began to hum..."Rubber Ducky you're the one, You make bath-time so much fun...." They'd already checked THEIR bathroom. 

A ball better suited to four square and dodge ball than our basketball! 

Since this was DECEMBER 2nd - we did Clue number 2...."A THERMAL DEPLETION CHAMBER"

The girls googled "thermal"  ::snort::

Great idea Zander - but what about "depletion" 

Nolan's on it! 

Yuuki insists on getting in on the fun. 

We also began discussing how to "Light em Up" - which will be great fun for us this year. We're looking for intentional ways to Light Up our community with Jesus' light. 

We are currently reading Cooper Kids #4 - Trapped at the Bottom of the Sea (Yokota AB is in this one) -  and read a couple of chapters. I promptly fell asleep and do not remember this nor the prayer - but I've been told I was there. 

It's off - the start of our family Advent 2012 celebrations. 

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...