In case you haven't noticed.
One thing I've noticed is that owls are a popular decorating item this year.
My sister was ahead of the trend. She gave this snowglobe as a gift last year.
Speaking of last year, I was looking through my Christmas pictures from the last few years. Here's a few I came across.
Last year at this time, I was working for a Presbyterian church. I learned to appreciate traditional prayers and the symbolism of lighting the Advent candles each week.
I bought Advent candles and would bring home a copy of the church bulletin that I had typed. We would light the candles and read the prayers for that week.
Christmas is very much a time for reflecting. These ornament are vintage but every ornament has a story, doesn't it? I could go through my storage tubs and remember decades of Christmas stories in each ornament.
Not all Christmas memories are happy ones. I bet everyone can remember a year or two when it wasn't quite so merry and didn't shine so bright.
For the last 36 years, our focus has been on "making Christmas" for someone else. Always it was for our own child, our family, each other. But for nearly 25 of those years, it's also been for our church family (huge pageants) and/or others less fortunate (huge outreaches) in our community. While that's a beautiful and wonderful thing, it makes for a really busy, intense month. Many times, by December 24, we've done so much Christmas we just want to get to December 26. For the last 5 years or so, I've fantasized about leaving town, going on a cruise, or hiding in the mountains, til it all goes away.
It can get difficult to keep a focus on why we're doing all this busy work in this one exclusive season. I've even wondered if we are doing people a disservice with these pageants & outreaches. Are we enabling others to get sucked into the vortex of Christmas materialism? Are we guilty of perpetuating the spirit of greed? Are we turning their attention towards Jesus or away from Him?
I think when one reaches a point where one wants to hide out to pretend the holiday doesn't exist, it's time to stop and take a breath.
Since I don't have any little children around to keep up "the magic of Christmas" illusion, I'm taking a risk this year. I can't leave town, but I can control my immediate environment.
I'm not putting up a tree or decorating my house.
Not exchanging gifts. We've had a fun & expensive year already.
Not sending out cards.
But I might do some baking.
What's the risk?
I'm wondering if I'll regret my decision on Christmas Eve!
I'm enjoying the various holiday social gatherings.
I helped with a church event today.
Next weekend is the ministry's outreach. I'll be there and I'll make sure my husband gets plenty of rest and healthy meals this week.
We'll go to Christmas Eve service and have a special, yet simple, dinner Christmas Day.
The week between Christmas & New Year's, both our offices are closed. We're going to take those days and relax. Cook a little; have a special dinner out, see a movie; play dominoes, light the fireplace, take naps, spend time with close friends.
We're going to make time to exhale and breathe in a deep fresh breath, to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas, without the glimmer and glamour, the hustle 'n bustle, and the constant ch-ching of excessive spending.
That's all I want for Christmas 2016.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives. ~John 14:27