Monday, December 5, 2011

a new way to celebrate

This Christmas is going to be radically different for me this year. It will be my first Christmas ever being away from my family. It's going to be hard for me, I know. I have done basically the same thing for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day my entire life--same visiting routine of different family members, same food, the same people, and I absolutely love how it was that way. There's something about holiday traditions that stabilize the year as a whole, that holds it down and makes it somewhat steady even if your day-to-day is crazy and unpredictable. It's something to look forward to and fall back on and cherish and just enjoy.

This year, obviously, those traditions will come to a halt.

I know I will achingly miss being with my family on Christmas Eve and Day--the food, the games, the conversation, the laughing. I will miss the traditions and routine I had year after year. I will even miss the snow, for pete's sake. It doesn't snow much here, and even though I get sick of Ohio snow quickly in the winter, I will certainly miss it around Christmas. I am going to miss it all.

Yet, here I am. In Oregon. We are not able to come visit Ohio this holiday season, so we must make the most of it here. Yes, we must.

Being here in Oregon, especially with only one vehicle for the moment, I have been at home. A lot. Sometimes too much :-) Yet, this time at home with my kids during the day has motivated me to take the time to craft and read more and focus on Jesus. To just be still. In Ohio, it was easy to get really busy with all the activities and shopping that needed to be done. With those things drastically cutting back this year, I am able to focus my time and energy on my home. It has been a blessing and gift from God.

Here is a peek at what we've been up to:

Feeding the birds...

...making "frosted" lanterns (inspired from here--we put a battery-operated tea light in Caedon's so he can have it in his room at night)...

...making our own wrapping paper with paint, pine sprigs, and bubble wrap...

...putting together our tree (we WILL get a real tree one of these years...just not this one!) and making Cinnamon Ornaments...

...and the start of new, wonderful tradition: celebrating Advent with a Jesse Tree. Each day we read a bible story leading up to the birth of Jesus (Christmas Day). We started on November 29th by reading the day's scripture and devotional (using this book) and hanging the corresponding ornament on our Jesse Tree (simply some branches in a vase). We turn off all the lights, light some candles, and spend some quiet moments together as a family reflecting on Him. So special. It's a wonderful way to keep focused on what really matters.

Oh, yes, my reminder for the season (and for my life) : Emmanuel, God with us. With us, not only when He came to earth as a man, but now. All of the fun traditions and activities of Christmas will of course end after December 25th until next year, but the truth of Jesus coming and redeeming us all is for every day. Because of his life and sacrifice on the cross, He is with us now. Always.

And that is something to celebrate.


Lois said... Best Blogger Tips

I love this Amy. (I admit it made me a little teary eyed). I loved seeing Caedon wear the "Amy" Art smock that you wore when you were little. The tree, all the decorations and traditons are perfect and beautiful. We will miss all of you this Christmas.. but I know that "Home is where our feet may leave, but not our hearts". Love and Miss all of you ♥ Momma ♥

Amy said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks Mom! :-) Love you!

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