Sunday, December 10, 2006
Sorry it has been so long since I have written.
Tonight I wanted to tell you about my favorite time of the year. Yep, CHRISTMAS!! :-) I have been busy the last couple of weeks, but it hasn't been the "hectic, chaotic" busy. I haven't been running around like a chicken with my head cut off worrying about buying gifts. My goal for the Christmas has been simple, "relax, and make sure the kiddos know the REAL reason we celebrate Christmas." :-)
We have made lots of memories, and thanks to my new digital camera I have documented them all. :-) The first thing was to make Advent chains, stressing the birth of Christ. We read books about the birth of Jesus, and a book about "The Best Thing About Christmas, Jesus." See a pattern here? :-)
The commercialism of Christmas has always bothered me. I think the show "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown" pretty much sums up how I feel about Christmas. I think it does for most people. We can't get bogged down in the presents, expense, time, etc... We can't get so bogged down that we don't ENJOY it, get so stressed we wish it would "hurry up and be over", and forget the REAL reason to celebrate Christmas.
I have just taken a laid back approach, and let the kids have fun. We have made ornaments, handmade gifts and ginger snaps; and have plans to make gingerbread men, assorted cookies, and cards. :-) Each time bringing it back around to Jesus. We are singing Christmas Carols, they rode in the parade together, and we talk about why it is important to GIVE to others rather than ask for what we "want". :-) The nephew participated in a Christmas play at church this evening that was about this very thing. I have to admit, when they sang "We bring our gifts, You bring Your presents" I cried. I usually only cry when I hear "Mary Did You Know", or "Silent Night". Maybe it was the song, maybe it was the pride of hearing/seeing my nephew as part of it, maybe both. I don't know, but it touched me. :-)
I have enjoyed this year so much. I love the smells, the lights, the music, and the holiday shows (Frosty, It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol...)and I love watching them with the kids. They make it "magical". But most of all I love the look on the kids faces when we talk about Jesus's birth, and when I ask them "Why we celebrate" it is like music to hear them say "Jesus".
We are creating new traditions, such as the Advent Wreath, which again stress Jesus. I can't help it. I just love it. It is such a great opportunity to share Jesus, especially with children. :-)
I have two special Christmas Memories to share with you. The first was when my nephew was about 4 or 5. We read "Little House on the Prairie". The one where Laura and Mary got tin cups for Christmas. It really taught him that Christmas isn't about getting "things", but spending time with family. He LOVED it. So, that year we got him a tin cup, a new shiny penny, a peppermint stick and I made him a heart shaped cookie with white sugar on it. We put them all in his stocking. As soon as he opened it he yelled, "It's just like Laura's!" It was awesome.
The second is from my childhood. I was about 11 or 12, I think. My sister and I had asked for a stereo and typewriter. That was all we asked for. We were sure we would get it, not realizing the cost, of course. We were kids. A couple of weeks before Christmas our mom sat us down and tried to explain to us that we would not be getting the stereo and typewriter. She did not want us to be disappointed, so she wanted to go ahead and tell us. I thought she was just saying that because she wanted us to be surprised. After all, that is all we asked for, so that is all we were expecting. I even told her that. She tried her best to make us understand, but after all we were kids. Stupid selfish kids I might add. (At least on my part)
Christmas morning we did indeed awake to a stereo, a typewriter and a Kenny Rogers album. We loved them all, and used the stereo for many years. Unfortunately, it was also many years before I found out just how hard it was for our parents to get those gifts. Daddy put in A LOT of overtime, and worked odd jobs. They did that because they did not want us to be disappointed and because they loved us that much. I wish I had had the maturity back then to truly appreciate all that they went through for us. I will always remember that Christmas.
So, to conclude,let me wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!