Monthly Archives: December 2012

Leaning Forward

Happy New Year!  Well, almost.  I cannot believe that 2012 is coming to an end and a new season is about to unfold, a season full of hope and promise.  Over the last few days, I have spent much time in reflection.

As Christmas drew near, I reflected on the sacrifice that Jesus made, leaving the comforts of His heavenly home and coming to earth, to be born as a babe in humble fashion, just because of His love for me!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believesin him shall not perish but have eternal life.  

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Traditions Toppled and Torn {When Loss Changes Christmas}

We have so many traditions in our family. Some silly. Some tender. All special. Traditions that feel safe and good and right – like anchors of joy in the midst of sometimes turbulent and unpredictable waters.

But what about when your traditions get toppled? When one of the ones who helped make those traditions so special is no longer there?

My father passed away very suddenly when I was 18 years old. Our light detangler, our baker of sausage balls, our professional “get the real tree standing straight and put the star on top” father – gone.

I remember our first Christmas without him; we could not bear to be at home.

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Baking For Christmas, A Tradition Evolving

It is without pride that I am able to confess, that I know my way around a plate of cookies. At Christmas time, my Mom always makes butter cookies in various holiday shapes, which, when I lived at home, we’d ice and sprinkle and then consume by the palm-full. My Grandfather always had a plate of brownies on the counter for our Sunday visits, and with my Granny, I treasure years of kitchen memories making her beloved ‘Face Cookies”.

There’s something familiar and comforting about a plate of fresh baked treats, in my family, these plates were edible love letters.

The first year I was married I baked somewhere around 8 dozen cookies the week before Christmas.What started as an inexpensive way to give a gift, evolved into something much more.

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Christmas Card Prayers


It’s the beginning of December when they start making their appearance. First as a slow trickle, but then two by two they march into my mailbox – Christmas cards.

In recent years, the majority are picture greetings. With giddy excitement, I tear open each one, eager to see the creative cards and read well wishes. Every year I display them across my kitchen cabinets, smiling faces greeting me as I cook and help with homework.

For years, I struggled with what to do with them at the end of the season. It seemed a crime to toss the beautiful glossies of the families I loved in the trash.

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The Blessing of a Song

I come from a music-loving family. We regularly sang around the piano together and quite often met up with church members to sing hymns at retirement homes. On one occasion I remember singing a solo while my mom accompanied me on the piano:

“there’s something quite peculiar about this world of ours,
sometimes we live in sunshine bright,
sometimes we live in showers,
but if you would keep happy when things are looking bad,
just lift the corners of your mouth and make believe you’re glad!
and smile! smile! smile! and keep right on a smiling…”

I remember exaggerating my smile while I sang.

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Keeping Faith in the Reason for the Season

Christmas can so easily become one big swirl of commercialism and hype.  I know that we all fall into the trap of the lists of gifts, parties, deadlines, baking, etc becoming THE focus.  In fact, while I am typing right now, I am also feverishly trying to work on a knit scarf for my oldest son.  I love the opportunity to give this time of year.  As much as I love the hustle and bustle of the season, if I am not purposeful I can lose vision for what this season is really about – Jesus.  I have found that even with my best intentions, it is so easy to slip into making Christmas about me and those I love instead of about Him.

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A Very Theatrical Christmas Tradition {God Bless Us, Everyone}

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” ~Charles Dickens

“Marley was dead: to begin with.”  Thus begins the first lines of the opening scene in the annual presentation of The Christmas Carol  and also a very unexpected but cherished family tradition. For the past eight years our little family of three has set off for a night of theatre, forsaking the hustle and bustle of the holiday noise to sit and be told the classic tale written by Charles Dickens in 1843.

Each year the play is presented in a different way and people from all walks of life and persuasion join in to enjoy the timeless message which never fails to touch and tenderize my heart to tears.

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Adorning the Tree {Beyond the Evergreen}

5minutes-christmas-traditions

We drag out the buried box. The one wrapped in duct tape from years past. I remember joy bursting as my husband and I scraped enough money to buy this tree as newlyweds.

Now, it seems old. Skimpy. Worn thin and I scold myself quietly for not yet buying another or picking fresh. But my son, the four year-old bouncing out of sheer anticipation, sees the promise of beauty and I force myself to emulate his excitement.

I’ve gotten good at assembly and my boy is eager to learn the process. As I go through the motions, I hear him counting.

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