Thursday, December 29, 2016

Love and Joy Come to You

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas! We had a quiet day at church and home, and enjoyed being together as a family (my husband was deployed last Christmas).  

I feel like there is so much "pressure" at Christmas time -- on the one hand, there is the ridiculous, commercialized, "Christmas is all about the gifts" message being blared in every ad and store in town. Did anyone else notice $50 stocking stuffers?! And on the other hand, there is well-meaning Christian community which, in an effort to avoid being caught up in the materialistic chaos, pushes "the Reason for the Season" so hard that you feel you're not "doing it right" unless you have ten advent readings daily and your children love Jesus so much that they don't even want Christmas gifts. 

We finished this two days before Christmas (no, we never procrastinate!), inspired by this one. I love how it turned out! The
tiny wreath is just a wire frame, so we can easily refill it with fresh greenery next year. Pallet wood, free. Paint, stashed.
Wreath frame, $2. That's my kind of Christmas cheer. *wink*

I'm trying to find the middle ground. I certainly don't want to fall prey to materialism. I don't believe that Jesus was actually born on December 25th, though I am more than happy to celebrate with the rest of Christendom on that date. And I also think that the truths of Advent should be celebrated year-round, not force-fed once month a year! That said, I do have my eye on the Prepare Him Room devotional by Marty Machowski for next year. This year, we read Scripture, had conversations with our children about why we celebrate Christmas and why we give gifts, and enjoyed the celebration!

And here it is lit up at night!

I think I was every bit as excited as the littles were -- I love making and wrapping gifts (though we try to be conservative), and their anticipation was contagious. I'll have to share the rest of our hand-made holiday soon! To my great delight, the Christmas pajamas (opened on Christmas Eve) were a huge hit, and they all fit beautifully with room to grow! I think total cost was bout $5 per child, so it turned out to be both practical and economical.

Our yearly "free" Christmas wreath -- we always pick up extra greenery when we
get our Christmas tree (there's a huge bin of free trimmings), and I stuff it into a
grapevine wreath. A few accents and it's ready to go!

May the love of God enfold you as the year draws to a close, and a new one awaits!

"Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen.

'I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'"

Revelation 1:4b-8


  1. Shannon, I love reading about your crafts, and can´t wait to hear about your handmade holiday gifts.
    Finding a balance between gift giving and the true meaning of the season is tricky, and something to work on every year.
    In our case, we have two kids, an almost 2 year old daughter and a 7 month old boy. Your post about the play kitchen inspired my husband and me, and we built one for our daughter. She loved it! I´m still sewing play food. Hopefully all the food will be done by her birthday, next month! So far the kitchen has been a hit, thank you so much for sharing! The baby received some soft blocks made from scraps. So far he is always chewing them, so I would consider that gift a success, too :-). And next year I´m going to try my hand at some stockings. I loved the ideas you shared in your other post. My boy is still too young, but I´m sure he will enjoy a stocking like the one you did for your kids in a couple years.
    I´m glad to hear you had a nice christmas and hope you enjoy New Years Eve!

    1. Elena,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I am so delighted to hear that your play kitchen was a success -- my almost-2-year-old son is actually playing with ours more than his older siblings at this point. Maybe it's something about that age? And yes, at 7 months I think chewing one's gift is the highest form of flattery. :-) Soft blocks are such a great idea!

      It is always my hope that others will be helped by what I post, so thank you for taking the time to share! It means a great deal to me. :-) Happy New Year to your family!



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