Sarah has this lovely meme every Friday and I really enjoy it because it forces me to think deeper and actually BE a wife and mother instead of just doing my duties and letting life pass us by without establishing traditions and thinking on what matters most to us as a family. And this link that Sarah found is awesome, really, you have to click here! We are starting this on Christmas Eve and ending January 6th as they suggested, I can't wait!
When I was a little girl my Mom and Dad always set out the nativity set when we decorated our tree. They have a fireplace mantel and it always goes in the center with greenery and ribbons around it. It's ceramic and it's the most beautiful nativity scene that I have ever seen. I have tried to find one exactly like it and have failed. When we were married Charlie said that we would have a nativity scene and sing carols of Christ's birth. We would celebrate it every day of the year but we would celebrate on Christmas as well to show our children the true meaning of Christmas and it's not all about Santa Claus. I have nothing against Santa, we grew up with Santa and it is a fun tradition and the kids learn about giving if you go about it in the right way. However, they also need to know and learn and love the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
As for traditions, we have a lot, I guess. We always open presents at my Mom and Dad's on Christmas Eve. When I was growing up that was always when Santa came (while we were at my Granny's) and we opened presents when we got back. It was always the best time of the year! And we loved to come home and open presents but we also loved being at Granny and Papaw's and we hated to leave! We had the best spread of food you have ever seen and so much family they wouldn't all fit in the house! So, we try to do the same thing at my Mom and Dad's and have for the past 17 or so years since my Granny went in the nursing home and later passed away. My wonderful uncle Kermit has always been a blessed part of all our celebrations but it will be a difficult year this year as he passed away in July. Please pray for our family.
My parents made such wonderful Christmas memories for us and I could talk all day long about how much I love my parents and how beautiful Christmas has always been because of the effort they put out! Even though we did not have much money my Daddy always gave something to others. I remember one Christmas he made extra on a few checks and he had Mama write my cousin a check for Christmas because my Aunt was a single mom and her ex husband would not pay child support for my cousin so my Daddy and Mama gave them money to help with his Christmas. I remember Daddy helping Granny with Christmas expenses. We may not have gotten everything we wanted but we did not lack love. We always had plenty of love and attention from our parents. And that is what I want to give our children and our nieces and nephews.
So, in honor of my parents we open presents on Christmas Eve at their house and then one each at ours. Christmas morning we open the rest of our presents just as Charlie's family did. Sometime during the week of Christmas we open presents at his mom and dad's with family.
We watch Christmas movies the entire month of December and I don't ever quit listening to Christmas music! However, I kind of taper it off a little after January is over. We make Christmas cookies and candy and this year we are buying this for the girls! We also make a lot of our gifts and I am running behind on that pretty bad right now
This year Claire is getting old enough to understand about what is going on so, I have started reading the story of Jesus birth to her every night and we talk about it in the morning after she comes to my room to sleep. We have also started watching Santa Claus is coming to town, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph and Little Drummer Boy. She loves all of them but Little Drummer Boy is her favorite because of the "Bayyyyy-bayyyy Eeezuss" and I am so happy about that! We have also started coloring pictures of the nativity scenes and Santa Claus and all of the winter things. We also talk about why we are giving gifts to others and how we can show our love in other ways as well, not just by buying them a gift but by giving of yourself. She really likes to do things to help people so she actually gets this pretty good. We also have a prayer list and she prays faithfully for you if you are on it! And for a lot of people who are not! (Hey, that's okay!)
Well, since I have written a novel I guess I will finally share this with you! I found this on Sally Clarkson's blog, if you have never been there you need to visit, her writings are very inspiring, especially to Mom's! Here are some of her suggestions to incorporate more meaning into Christmas, enjoy!
In honor of the shepherds and of our savior’s birth, we celebrate a shepherd’s meal each Christmas eve. Thick slices of homemade herb, onion bread, chunks of cheese, nuts and fruit; along with steamy potato soup, we eat a simple meal by candlelight and read the Bible story out loud of His appearing to these families, and then we sing a few hymns together. It is one of the favorite evenings of the year for all of us and it reminds us that Jesus was a humble friend of the common man—that He can relate to our everyday life—and yet He is still the messiah before whom every knee will bow . His life again becomes a model for us in ministry—that we must be humble and cultivate a heart for reaching out to the common man and woman—and bring them the glorious, generous love our savior-king."
And here are some comments that I found interesting! I found a lot of traditions to use here as well!
"I need to read this. God is always faithful to speak through His Children at the perfect time. Every year we rummage around the house and find anything to build our little manger scene. We often use old shoe boxes and glitter glue. I wanted to buy a manger scene this year, but my son said that he wasn't interested in any scene except for the tradition of making one. We also started a new tradition. He gets to leave a Christmas message on the greeting when people call the house. It is a cute Song about the Lords coming into this world.It so blessed my heart. "
"My prayer is that The Lord will reveal Himself to me in a very mighty special way this Christmas. He already has. One of them is reading this post by you Sally. And learning how to put the CHRIST back into Christmas. I have never read Isaiah 9:6 in the light that you have shared. I have a beautiful tapestry of that scripture hanging in my house that a friend gave to me. I look at it every day. But I’m so used to it being there that I pass buy the meaning day after day.. Praise be to God."
And again, this is Sally on Christmas :
The reason that I wrote my book, The Mom Walk, is that I learned over the years, that it is only in consistently walking with Him, that we have the deep well of His resources to bring energy and wisdom to all the tasks of life. His word is what guides my mind and heart and priorities. I receive perspective for my soul in order to be able to make it, every day, with the power and grace and strength that the Holy Spirit provides. Of course there are many days that I find my resources low and my attitudes skewed and my heart overwhelmed. But it is in the continual coming to Him, where I find daily, the strength and refreshment that I need—for that day—and He is always there. My feelings are not always there, but when I read truth and obey His word, then I have confidence that what I have placed into His hands will be answered in His time and in His way. My feelings sometimes fluctuate, my confidence in Him is sure.As I was praying for His perspective this season in my quiet time the past couple of days, He brought this to mind:“For a child will be born to us, a son shall be given to us, and the government will rest on His shoulders; And his name shall be called:Wonderful Counselor—He will counsel me in every area. He has the answers and the wisdom for my marriage, the issues that involve my children—their hearts, attitudes, health, future, friends, –He knows our financial needs; He will give direction for our future; grace to handle difficult relationships—He is Wisdom himself. I just need to go to Him and His word and He will instruct me in the way I should go. I must take time to come to Him!Mighty God—He is strong and able to rule over any detail of my life. In His timing, he will act on my behalf. There is no enemy stronger than Him; He is powerful to overcome all difficulties, all temptations, all people or authorities. If I come to Him and ask Him to be my “mighty God” and to give His strength to any situation in my life, He is able and will work on my behalf—Jesus Christ is the Mighty God.Everlasting Father—He always has a Father’s heart. Even as a father has compassion on his children, so God my father will have compassion on me (Psalm 103: 13-14). Even as a Father would give his child bread and not a stone, so my heavenly Father will give me what is good. I can trust Him to provide for me as I approach Him as my Father—and submit to Him as his beloved child. He, as my Father, is responsible for my life, it is not all on my shoulders. I need to rest against Him as a child rests in His Father’s arms. (Psalm 131:1-3)Prince of Peace—Even though there is tribulation in the world, I can rest in the fact and in the hope, that all things will come to right some day. Jesus said, “In this world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” He will give me peace if I place all of the issues in my life in His hands. (the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.) I need to choose to leave my life in His hands, to not panic, to rest in His power and ability to take care of me and my children. He is also the peace maker—and when I humble myself and choose to love, He will bring peace. He has also made peace with me, through His sacrifice—he has forgiven me everything and for always. I have peace with God through Jesus.In short, the name of the blessed messiah tells me that for today, for each day, He is all that I need—He will counsel and give wisdom, be strong and mighty for my cause. love and provide for me as a compassionate Father and bring peace to my heart. May the name of Jesus Christ be praised throughout each day of December as He leads me on this journey as a Mom!"
Colossians 3:12-17Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I just thought that I would share this with all of you and I appreciate Sarah doing this every week! I don't always get to post on it and sometimes I am late but I do love thinking these things through and being challenged to be better and more involved instead of just existing in my family's lives. Hope you enjoyed this and I will be back later to finish up on Sarah's Family Focus topics!
Love and Prayers and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
In love with Jesus. Wife to my best friend & man I love more than life. Mama to 4 amazing God given blessings. Proud Homemaker & Homeschooler. Living life with it's ups and downs and blogging about it!