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The Joy of Christmas

Hello my friends! This week we are getting closer to Christmas and also celebrating our “Baby J’s” first birthday. She could not wait for the new year and decided she would celebrate Christmas with us last year! As we spend time preparing for parties, cleaning our houses for guests, and celebrating the season, I cannot help but remember what it was like when I was little. I would not want to relinquish the freedom I have as an adult, but being young made Christmas super special! What are some of your favorite Christmas memories and traditions?

We have been baking at my house and enjoying lots of chocolate and sprinkle-covered stuff! I catch little hands picking off pieces of sweet goodies from under the plastic covered plate on the kitchen table when they think I am not looking. I must admit, we did have cookies for breakfast a few times recently. Yum!

In order to help my girls understand the reason we celebrate Christmas, we read the nativity story in their picture-filled storybook and each morning we read a part of the Bible story leading up to Jesus’s birth. We talk about how difficult the journey was for young Mary, the star that showed the shepherds where the baby was, and the stable baby Jesus was born in. We especially enjoy identifying the animals that watched as the precious baby was born. This will be part of our family tradition.

When I was young, it became tradition to drive through subdivisions to see Christmas lights around town on December 22. It began the year my little brother turned four and no longer had to ride in a car seat (back then) and we went for a ride where he was able to ride secured only by a seatbelt. Since that year, we all piled in the car on his birthday to drive around and see the brightly decorated houses.

I also enjoyed a little extra income during the Christmas season when my dad asked me to wrap Christmas presents for him. Fifty cents per gift? Don’t mind if I do! I enjoyed picking out and matching paper with ribbons, bows, and tags. Super fun!

One Christmas, my brother and two sisters visited my grandmother out of town. She took us Christmas shopping and helped us wrap the gifts. My middle sister was only about three at the time, so she played more with the cat than wrapped gifts. We saw the cat wander in the room, sniff the paper, and curl up on some ribbon. My brother and I thought the cat looked funny but it took us a while to figure it out. We realized my sister had taken scissors to the cat’s face and cut off one side of whiskers! Poor lop-sided fur baby. We rolled in the floor laughing hysterically. It is one of my favorite Christmas memories.

To this day, I still look at the Christmas tree and watch the lights twinkle or lay under the tree and look up into the branches. I suppose it is a little more socially acceptable to lay under the tree with kids, but hey, I would still do it alone proudly! If it has been a while since you have done this, try it again. It will liven up life.

When I was young and now in my own house, Christmas music plays constantly all day every day as we go about our ordinary tasks. It just makes the day brighter and happier. I sure feel more energetic loading the dishwasher or vacuuming to some “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

It has been fun the past few years to begin creating our own family traditions. It helps children gain a sense of identity and belonging by celebrating in the same ways each year. It creates an atmosphere of security not only for children, but adults as well.

Sometimes in life, we celebrate joy and experience sorrow at the same time. Some of you are experiencing great loss or big change. Luke 2:11 gives me peace as I read, “Today a Savior, Who is Messiah the Lord, was born FOR YOU in the city of David.” Wow. He was born…for me! For you! So many years ago, God knew you and I would exist and would need a Savior. And His Son was born for us. Sometimes that is all we know for the moment. Please know that wherever you are in your Christmas season this year, I am praying joy and peace for you, especially if this is a difficult time. God bless your day, sweet friends. Oh, and remember to sit still and watch the lights on your tree sparkle.

Love,

Charis

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