Several weeks ago someone told me that their family would no longer be celebrating Christmas. Because of that simple statement, my whole advent season this year has been different. I have had so many times where I’ve said to myself, “If we weren’t celebrating Christmas, we wouldn’t (or couldn’t) be doing this right now.”
Here are a few of the beautiful things I’ve done during the past month in celebration of the remembrance of The Lord Jesus becoming a baby in order to bring us salvation. How truly grateful I am for His sacrifice and for having Christmas here on earth every year as a helpful focus of His Advent!
1. Decorating the house. We start every year the day after Thanksgiving. We don’t do a lot of Black Friday shopping, but we get a tree, a $5 wreath, and several $.99 poinsettias. My kids love to help decorate the house and tree with all its sights, sounds and scents.
2. Nativity scenes. I love seeing the unique Nativity scenes that people display at Christmastime. We have a beautiful one on our front lawn that my husband made. My boys made a Lego version for our mantle this year.
3. Christmas music. Oh, what a joy to listen to Christmas music every year on the radio and at home! My husband and I also help lead the music at our church and at a wonderful church fellowship Christmas gathering we have each year. We sang for well over an hour last Friday night, with guitar, bass, piano, violin, ukulele, percussion, and saxophone accompaniment. And people were still not ready to quit even though it was close to 11pm! What a wonderful time of worship, using the beautiful music written to celebrate Christmas.
4. Christmas cards. Do you enjoy receiving and sending Christmas cards and letters each year? I do! It’s especially fun to see how people have changed, kids have grown, and sometimes hear of beautiful testimonies. I’m thankful for this Christmas tradition which keeps me connected with some people I never get to see, and may only hear from at this same time each year.
5. Christmas parties and food. How wonderful it is to have more opportunities to fellowship with people during the Christmas season. And the food (Christmas cookies?) sure makes it fun, too!
6. Other traditions. Each year my husband and I travel down to Chicago to hear a special concert at Moody Church called Candlelight Carols. I’ve also taken my daughters to see the Nutcracker a couple of times. This year I took my three-year-old for the first time. As I was putting tights on to get ready to go she asked me where Daddy’s tights were. I laughed and said Daddy doesn’t wear tights! At the ballet, she leaned over when she saw a male dancer on stage and said, “Boys don’t dance!”. After he finished, she said, “Boys do dance! And they wear tights!”
7. Making Christmas presents. I’ve made a few different Christmas presents this year. I’ll share them on a later post, so I won’t spoil any surprises.
8. Seeing kids’ joy when opening a special gift.
9. Watching Christmas movies. My favorites include “The Nativity Story”, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas,” and “The Grinch That Stole Christmas” (cartoon version).
10. Focusing on advent. Last year we bought an advent wreath and the book Jotham’s Journey to help us as a family to focus on the time when the Messiah came to earth. We enjoyed lighting the candles each evening and listening to Daddy read that night’s chapter. This year we are reading another book written by the same author called Bartholomew’s Passage.
11. Christmas Eve service. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve attended a Christmas Eve service. My kids have told me it’s one of their main Christmas traditions now!
What would you miss if there were no Christmas?
martha neumaier says
Gena, thank you for that beautiful Christmas letter. I loved seeing the children. They’ve changed and grown so much. Was surprised to see seven. Can’t wait to see them all. I’ll give you a call soon (if you don’t mind). I know you have very busy schedule. Maybe I can go over with Phyllis some day.