It is officially Christmas time. We have thanked God for the many blessings he has given us, eaten turkey, watched the balloons float down Woodward Avenue and spent time with family. We may now officially begin celebrating the Christmas season.
December 1st is the beginning of a new year, according to the Liturgical calendar. The liturgical calendar begins with Advent, a time of waiting in the darkness of the winter for the Light of Christ to come and be with us on Christmas. It is a season filled with beautiful symbols of light, darkness, life, repentance and faith.
I am working hard to celebrate advent with as much fervor and attention as I celebrate Christmas. I have been torn about the cultural celebration of Christmas with Santa, Snowmen and elaborate light displays for some time. This year I have been particularly convicted to evaluate and adjust Christmas traditions that I have celebrated by whole life and adopt new traditions that will ultimately glorify the reason for Christmas, Jesus Christ.
Throughout this advent and Christmas season I want to intentionally point all of my Christmas celebration toward Christ. One of the ways to do that is to be mindful of Christ in all aspects of our Christmas preparations.
This past week we have been working on decorating our home. Before we began, I went through our Christmas bucket and sent several items off to Goodwill. The truth is simple is best and a lot of the items we had just sat in storage and were never put out. Some of the things though were not items that would reflect the true meaning of Christmas. What was left was simple, elegant and had meaning to us.
The first place we decorated was our fireplace mantel.
We just recently received our wedding pictures so I wanted to keep the picture up and I felt that it could bring a more family oriented aspect, as well as remind us of the covenant we made before God to love one another, through thick and thin, throughout the sometimes stressful holiday season. We also added evergreen garland, red beaded garland and white twinkle lights.
I L.O.V.E love Christmas lights! Something about them makes me happy and giddy inside. White Christmas lights especially remind me of the light of Christ. December is the darkest month of the year so having lots of lights around the home brings a special joy and warmth.
My "friend" Katie over at Kitchen Stewardship had a few suggestions of her own concerning Christ and Christmas lights:
* While you decorate, meditate on the light of Christ shining in the darkness of
sin and death of our culture.
* Pray for those in the homes that are (and aren’t) decorated as you drive, that
they may know the light of Christ this year.
The next place we decorated with the Living Room. We started with our Willow Tree Nativity Scene. The Nativity is the focal point of our living room on top of the piano. It is the first thing I see each morning when I walk down the stairs from our bedroom.
Next we brought up our tree, decorated with white lights, and ornaments that are special to Phil and I. We have several ornaments on the tree that we received as gifts throughout our lives. Once we got engaged we began collecting ornaments from the places we visited together. It is fun to be reminded of the vacations we took each year as we decorate the tree.
And last but not least, the Kitchen. Our kitchen is hands down my favorite room in our home. It is where we take part in some of my favorite activities: Cooking, Eating and Visiting over a meal! Baking is an important part of the month of December for me. I love to bake cookies and homemade gifts for our friends, family and neighbors! The decorations are simple but fun in the Kitchen. Our cross wall works well for all seasons and reminds us of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
I encourage you to have a Christ conscious and prayerful heart and mind as you go about celebrating this holiday season.