I, like most people really love Christmas. My mother did a great job intentionally instilling in us Christmas memories. I remember the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the season. Our house was always dimly lit with tree lights and candles. It smelled like seasonal candles or pot roast, soup or cookies. The walls, mantel and windows were trimmed with lots of care. We recently helped my mom go through her many, many decorations and purged, a lot. She has been blaming every missing thing on that purging day, although I am pretty sure it has more to do with the fact that those items got lots somewhere in the last two moves. I have tried to instill these same type of memories in my family. I really wanted to focus every part of the season on Jesus's birth, so our decor reflected that, as well.
Our tree this year was beautiful. We decided to patronize a local tree farmer, staying away from the Big Named places we have been to in the past. We paid only a few dollars more and got a fresh-cut, beautiful 7 foot tree. Did you know the tress you get elsewhere are often cut in September from Canada and frozen for the months prior to there arrival at your local store!? I had previously re-arranged the living room so we could put the tree right in front of the french doors. (A very hard thing for me to do. Once I get a room perfect it is nearly impossible for me to imagine it another way.) But, I was so excited for the sparkly reflections, it was worth it! After we brought it home, it was better than I expected. I made ornaments with the names of Jesus on them (an idea I got from my friend Sherri last year) and added a few jewels I picked up at the store. We put a couple of ornaments that had something to do with the Christmas story, but that was it. It was perfectly simple, perfectly positioned, and perfectly sparkly! Oh, and we finally acquired a tree topper. The perfect star!
I so enjoyed this holiday season. Maybe it was the first snow, or the beautiful home we have been blessed with, or all the parties we got to host. It could have been the amazing Christmas Eve service we had at church where hundreds of people accepted the Lord, or possibly the fact that this is the first year in many Shane and I we able to buy each other gifts. It might be the small joys each day brings as the girls drink hot chocolate, or collect chicken eggs in the snow. But, I am pretty sure it is because the Lord Jesus came to the earth many years ago and because of His sacrifice, leaving heaven to come down on earth, walk among us and be put to death on the cross for my sins, I now have eternal life and a present life full of peace, joy and purpose. He has blessed me so much in ways I couldn't even begin to list, but know this. My life is fabulous, through and through, and it would not be that way if it were not for the reason for this season!