Friday, November 30, 2012

December Eve-- Guarding the Sanctuary of the Season

Quiet and soft and slow...

That's how He came, that's how the song goes. 

And here I am, swept up in a flurry of winter zeal, printing printables and scheming schemes and signing on for every amazing Christmas idea there is out there. 

I want Christmas to be about Him. I want our home to be a place where understanding sparks in eyes, love kindles warm in hearts, and we cherish. Truth, each other, giving. Cherish each of those things. 

Slow down, self. 

That's me, coaching my inner-Christmas-zealot to quiet down and remember not to crowd out truth with tradition. 

My question is, how do I balance truth and tradition? These ideas are rooted in truth, but I fear "doing" too many will have me focusing on the "doing" and not on the truth. 

The answer is simple, I think. 

Quiet my heart before Him, seek what would honor Him most this year. 

I'm printing printables and scheming schemes, but now I'm tucking some away for future years. I'd rather choose just a few traditions and give them space to be meaningful... than try to do them all at once, and implement chaos instead of peace

Here are my favorites, the ones I want to bring into the rotation-- the rotation, not the avalanche

Quiet, soft, slow

  • I'd like to modify this Christmas list of activities someday, create our own stash of joy-moments.
  • I'd like to implement something like this, spending the first moments of Christmas morning giving things that are truly needed, far across the world, spending the month preparing for that giving. We love the catalog that Gospel for Asia has for this. 
  • Spend the month learning about the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled, using these neat cards.
  • Spend the month learning about the names of God, discovering how personally each facet has ministered to us, using this free guide
  • Spend the month re-visiting the stories that led to Jesus' birth, with a Jesse tree. Ann Voskamp has a free downloadable book that includes meaningful application activities for each story, one-a-day for the whole month. 
  • Two years ago, we began collecting Christmas story books to re-wrap each year for our little ones to unwrap each day throughout the month. We have silly books, Nativity books, a book about the story of Nicholas to help explain where the tradition of Santa and stockings came from... and a few just wonderful stories. It makes for sweet cozy-together-moments.  If you want to hear a few favorite titles, ask away in the comments-- but beware. Once you ask about books, you've unleashed a book-talkin'- fool who doesn't know when to pipe down. 
Our book basket

Can you imagine if I tried to implement all of those at once? I'm sure there are people who do, and who do it beautifully and effectively. But for me, it's overwhelming to even think about it. I'd rather pick just one or two each year to add to the few activities we do engage in yearly, and savor that facet of our Lord. Some will probably become yearly, some we'll re-visit every few years... but no matter what, I want this to be a sanctuary-season. A time of peace, full to the brim of joy and gratefulness for the life that's been given. 

What are your favorite ideas, traditions, memories for the Christmas season? 


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