Our tree is so pretty. It was also so very much fun to decorate it this year, which makes its beauty all the more enjoyable. The kids pause on their way through the room to admire it from afar, or perhaps run over just to make sure their favorite ornament is still in that special spot. Our tree night was filled with dancing and laughing and Christmas music in the background — and free from frustration or dashed hopes or any of the other things that can so often accompany traditions.
tree night photos here.
Christmas isn’t about getting presents. We all want our kids to know it’s so much more than that. No one’s happy when suddenly their children turn into greedy monsters the day after Thanksgiving. But this year, I’ve been challenged by the idea that Christmas isn’t about giving, either. At least, not presents. I needed that little reminder from the Holy Spirit because I love this excuse to give gifts to my kids, my family, my friends—so much fun! But I can get uptight, too, about choosing the perfect gift. So maybe my kids need to lift their eyes from the getting, but I need to lift my eyes from the giving sometimes. I need to remember that Jesus is all that matters. (And if I’m going to get caught up in giving, give love.)
We are dancing loosely through these days of December. We fit in chores here and there, quickly pull out a page of math, surreptitiously fit in a reading lesson while doing Christmas crafts. But we also linger in PJs a little longer. Bake cookies. Visit friends.
Saturday, after being out late at the CFA Christmas concert, I declared a Christmas holiday. We ate rice pudding (a rare treat these days), wore our pajamas, and watched The Nutcracker from under afghans. Nana (my mom) came to join us. It was the slow family day you dream of. What a blessing.
boys getting ready to decorate the first rum logs of the season!
As I add greenery here and a candle there, and in general just go all out with making the house pretty and cozy, I am more aware than ever of my ability to quickly slip into Sounding Gong and Clanging Cymbal mode: warm, cozy home without a warm, cozy Mama. Good works without love behind them is always a rather ludicrous idea, but it becomes only more so when my efforts at “warmth” are so concerted. If I have cookies baked for the neighbors but have snapped at my husband, what have I gained? If every window is lit and the garlands carefully hung but I banished my kids in frustration, what have I gained? I remind myself of this as I plan each day and carefully weigh each moment’s decisions. Better to have a little less “cozy” and little more love, I’d say. A wise woman builds her home—and her home is people.
favorite Christmas decor from Germany
We have a surprise guest this Christmas. In case you didn’t get the message via FaceBook, here it is:
(Guess that last post will come in handy!)