12 Days of Enjoying Christmas – Day 12

December 24, 2014

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I’ve written at length before about my love of Christmas lights. It’s one of the special things of the season that I am convinced you should never miss out on. Especially because it can be as simple as telling everyone to hop in the car in their pajamas and going for a drive. There’s never a good excuse to miss out on the lights at Christmas time.

But mostly today I want to encourage you to not miss the true light of Christmas.

All these ways I’ve shared to enjoy Christmas are wonderful and fun and I love them all. But as I said at the beginning, they are coming out of something so much bigger. By themselves they are easily tainted.

And the truth is that sometimes any or all of them might not work out.

Sickness, stress, money, busyness, and every other little and big piece of life have the potential to easily disrupt all the fun and celebrating at Christmas time.

But that does not mean we can’t enjoy Christmas.

Because ultimately, the joy under our enjoying is not about any of that stuff, but all about the hope and peace that rests in Christ alone.

 

So if you’re Christmas season has not gone the way you planned, or if at the last minute all the fun has taken a sudden awful turn…..

Rest.

If you’re sitting in the tension of a stressful situation, or feeling grumpy instead of jolly, or even struggling through a heavy kind of sorrow that you can’t see any hope of ever finding your way out of….

Rest.

 

Light has come. We are free. The joy we speak of in this season is absolutely not a feeling but a truth that rests on a Person who lives and who loves you and who is conqueror over every bit of mess in your life.

That is why no matter how you are feeling, or what you are facing, you can enjoy Christmas. Because it’s all about Jesus, God over all creation in all His majesty and power, being with us. Wherever we may be.

Merry Christmas. 

 

 

12 Days of Enjoying Christmas – Day 11

December 23, 2014

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One of our most favorite things at Christmas time is somehow recording the memories of the season.

We take an outrageous amount of photos. Throw in some video for good measure.

But it doesn’t end there.

 

One of the ways we most enjoy Christmas is by setting those memories apart to reflect on later.

I thought I would share this today as a possible “after-Christmas” way to enjoy your Christmas season this year.

 

We have two different photo albums that are set aside just for Christmas time.

One for formal photos and collages.

And the other for snapshots of favorite moments.

Photos are labeled by year, and it really is one of everybody’s favorite things to sit and linger over during the holidays.

 

A few years ago we also started a family Christmas journal.

Every year sometime between Christmas and New Year’s, we each sit down and fill in a single page with some of the memories we love best from that Christmas.

Again, such a fun thing to look back through. We think we’ll remember those special moments, but our memories can only hold so much. It’s wonderful to have a place to look and be reminded of this recurring season of celebrating we have shared.

Also helpful if that particular season has carried hard things that we are struggling to see past; we never fail to come up with beautiful things that happened also that we want to write down.

A sort of counting our blessings tradition that has brought much joy.

You should try it!

 

12 Days of Enjoying Christmas – Day 10

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Today’s tip for enjoying Christmas is going to be short and sweet: bake something

I know most of you probably already have. But if you have not, and if you’re avoiding it, I want to encourage you not to.

So I’m flooding you with photos from several years worth of baking. ;)

 

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There is something magical about mixing together some basic ingredients and ending up with something pretty and delicious.

No matter how good that store dessert may be, it’s never going to be as good as something that came from the work of your own two hands.

 

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Even if it’s something as simple as a box of cake mix because you’ve reached the point of overwhelm.

Even something as easy as that is a treat because with it comes the joy that you made it yourself.

 

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The options are endless.

The smell wafting through your house will be one of the greatest gifts you receive during this season.

And it’s one more way, I think, to embrace the idea of sabbath at Christmas.

In general I’m a stickler for avoiding excess sugar. But at Christmas time we just let that go.

The freedom of indulgence for just a few sweet days is well worth it.

 

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12 Days of Enjoying Christmas – Day 9

December 21, 2014

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You didn’t possibly think I could write about enjoyment of any time or season without mentioning books did you?

Books are one of our favorite parts of the Christmas season.

Our collection continues to grow every year, and we do our best to take time to read through them all.

 

You know quite well that I am a lover of books. 

I recently discovered a kindred spirit and found that she puts my reverence for books in the lives of children perfectly into words when she says stories have the power to “form children to love what is right, hunger for what is good, and grasp for what is true”.

So delightful to find your heart’s principles expressed by others.

 

There is no end of amazing books to share with your family and enjoy during this season.

A few of our favorites:

Mortimer’s Christmas Manger

The Gift of the Magi

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

The Story of Holly and Ivy

The Little Fir Tree

Apple Tree Christmas

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

 

These are just a few.  There are also some wonderful stories for adults to enjoy.

A Christmas Carol

The Cricket on the Hearth

Skipping Christmas

Christmas at Fairacre

 

And I’m sure many more.

I guess my point is that Christmas is not a season to take a break from reading, but rather to shift the focus of what you read. It’s one more thing that for me creates the feeling of sabbath during this time; making space for reading for pure pleasure, and with no intent but to soak up the beauty of good stories.

 

If you have access to a decent library I guarantee they will have most of these books, and more.

Make room for a little reading in your days before Christmas. :)

 

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