It's still Christmas Eve, and I thought I'd share a bit about the rest of our day...leaving the experience of Matthew, Mickey and Minnie its own post!
After our early breakfast finally concluded (dozens of pictures later!), the three of us headed out of Anaheim and traveled the short distance to the ocean-side again and spent the next couple of hours in a little town called Newport Beach - which is also the location of the well-known beach of the same name. And what a perfect little beach area it was - lovely sand, beautiful little shops lined up as far as the eye could see, perfect warm weather...one could get used to this. It was a relaxing time, as you can see from the pic below of Geoff and Matthew:
In the afternoon, we headed about forty minutes inland towards the city of Lake Forest. Some of you may be familiar with the reason we made an effort to go there; this city is where one can visit Saddleback church, home of pastor Rick Warren - who, in addition to being a pastor, is the author of several books including one that I've worked through, Purpose Driven Life. I've heard about him for years and have quite a lot of respect for him; many churches model themselves after the simple and humble faith that he purports. So, when we learned that we were going to be in the LA/San Diego area, I'd added to my wish list that we try to get to Saddleback church for a service. So we did - we attended one of the Christmas Eve services, and it was great - great music, terrific talk by Rick Warren, and a lovely ambience. In addition, we really enjoyed getting to see the outdoor live nativity scene that they had set up - including live donkeys, goats, sheep, miniature horses, etc, and people acting as Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the wise men and shepherds, and an angel standing with arms spread out on top of the open barn. It was really quite beautiful and somehow lent an air of concreteness to the image one might otherwise have of the nativity scene.
By the time we were on our way towards San Diego (our final destination for the next number of day), it was getting dark and so, rather than take the scenic ocean route, we took the highway route...fully intending to make it back to the coastal route in the coming days.