12 Days of Christmas Ornaments: A Tradition of Memories — Day 12

IMG_3830On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – 12 Hopes and Dreams!

11 friends and family, 10 gifts from giving, 9 wooden beauties, 8 family trips, 7 Bruins beating Trojans (38-28!), 6 Asian Orbs, 5 manger scenes! 4 major awards, 3 dancing pigs, 2 handmade bells, and a portrait to put on the tree.

It’s the day before Christmas and for me, this can be either a magical time or a mad rush to finalize the securing of gifts. Sometimes it’s both. But my longing is for the former.

Yes, this can be even a “magical” or supernatural time for adults as well as kids. When our perspective of the special day ahead is aligned to the true meaning, the wonder is there.

I’m reminded of a song I always hear on the radio during the seasons; one of the verses includes this line, “This is my grown up Christmas list…”

As a young child, you may deeply hope for candy. But as you grow, the sophistication of dreams grows along with you. Sometimes that wish grows a little faster than one’s maturity can take (this year my 5-year-old asked Santa for an “ifone” — I don’t think so!)

But if I do my job as a thoughtful parent, I can plant seeds of hope and truth, continuing to nourish it while asking God to grow it up in a healthy manner. I try to remind my kids and myself (over and over) what is really important in this world (things that last: who we become and how we get there, people and how we treat them, God….)

To drive this point home a bit deeper for our family, last year I planted another little seed that has the potential to sprout goodness. We all wrote our hopes and wishes on a gift tag and hung them on the tree as ornaments. Of course, I gave some suggestions to think beyond the tangible. And even my 4-year-old at the time got it or at least, is slowly getting it (see pictured ornament). He had me write about giving food to hungry people. And to make his wish come true, we did just that through the year.

Of course, this takes some effort, but not much. And it’s worth it! Believe me, it’s not just for the kids; I, too, am reminded of the desires God wants us to have, the prayerful hopes and wishes that bring life. In fact, this season is all about life… of a baby who came into this world to give us the ultimate life.

So let us remember through our ornaments, among so many other things, all that makes this life worth living.

Merry Christmas to you all in my cyber world. And Happy Birthday, Jesus!

12 Days of Christmas Ornaments: A Tradition of Memories – Day 5

IMG_3768On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me –

5 manger scenes!

4 major awards, 3 dancing pigs, 2 handmade bells, and a portrait to put on the tree.

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-11

If I include dazzling angels, ornate stars, peaceful sheep, wise men, and marshmallows (yes, marshmallows – see photo), I definitely have more than 5 pieces of the manger scene. In fact, it’s the single most dominating theme on our tree, and for good reason.

Without Jesus’ birthday, there is no Christmas.

So in this advent season, the days before Christmas where we prepare our hearts for the incredibly humble King of king’s entrance into the world, His coming, may we pause to remember why we have Christmas at all.

It’s really quite simple. God came to us as a baby, to one day die with all our sins and rise again. And because He was both a king and a poor frail creature, he can relate to us all. Because we believe this miracle, we can spend a heavenly eternity with Him.

If an ornament can remind you of any part of this truth, it deserves the most prime spot on the tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me – visit here tomorrow to see.IMG_3770

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12 Days of Christmas Ornaments: A Tradition of Memories — Day 4

IMG_3747On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me —

4 major awards,

3 dancing pigs, 2 handmade bells, and a portrait to put on the tree.

One of my holiday rituals is to watch A Christmas Story each December. Somehow it makes me laugh every time. And since laughter is such great medicine, I try to do it as often as possible.

With so much grief in this world, in our cities, in our lives, laughter is important — no, vital. Being able to appropriately see the humor in life can not only spice up a stale situation, it can make the painful become bearable.

So the “major award” on my tree (aka the leg lamp from A Christmas Story) makes me chuckle, even at the mere mention of it. I wish I had the following figures to go with it: a genuine Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle, a bundled-up Randy, Flick with tongue on a pole, Ralphie in a bunny suit, and 4 Chinese men singing “Deck the Halls.”

I’m sorry if you haven’t seen the movie. Please rent it with the three other people who haven’t and watch. Just be prepared for silliness. But I digress.

Employ comedy, humor, laughing out loud through any ornament that helps put you in a good mood (a pig reindeer with jingle bell antlers, a constipated looking chicken with rainbow feathers, an inside joke…) Whatever it takes to remind yourself of the joys in this season — put that on your tree.

Light up the tree, sit in front of it with some hot cocoa and a good book. Try the Bible (Luke 1-2). It is Jesus’ birthday, after all. And Jesus, of all people, knew about fun and celebrating. His first miracle was bringing more booze to a wedding party (John 2).

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me — visit here tomorrow to see.