Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Christmas Week to you!

Here it is, the week of Christmas. We are done with schoolwork until 2010 and I am looking forward to enjoying a couple weeks of fun and play.

I haven't written much about our Advent/Christmas related activities this year, mostly because I've been busy living them. But now that we're on vacation, and I mostly have fun things on my to-do list (like Make more Jar Gifts, Play with Ribbon and the Trimmings from the bottom of the tree, sew for the Blessings, etc), I feel like I have time to post a bit.

This season has presented many opportunities for me to learn contentment with the not-perfect. And I'm thankful for that, which is another God thing.

A few example of my opportunities:
I've felt several steps behind for the last few weeks, greatly because I came out of my first trimester fog in mid-to-late November and had lots of catching up to do before I felt like I could focus on Advent/Christmas. What a wonderful reason for needing to skip some things!
We didn't manage to do the Jesse Tree this year, which I miss, but it just wasn't doable, and I'm ok with that.
Our Christmas decorating started late, but the house looks lovely and the Blessings helped, which is a treat for them and for me.
We had some unexpected emergency repairs that needed to be made to the van (to the tune of +$700), which put a cramp in what we thought we were doing for the Blessings for Christmas. But we try to not focus on the gifts anyway, and this has actually made that easier, as well as giving me the chance to get creative with the fabric we have on hand!

We were late to start our Advent Wreath, but have loved our times of sitting around the table reading Scripture and singing hymns and carols by candlelight. The Advent Wreath has become one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. The hush of our hearts in worship, the sound of our voices singing beloved songs together, the flicker of the candles... oh how I love it!

I'll close this somewhat random post with an article that Jonathan and I wrote on behalf of our chapel that will be published in the mid-week Missourian:

As we anticipate Christmas, our thoughts turn to shepherds, stars, angels, Mary, Joseph, and especially to that baby born in a stable in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. The image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1.15), born in human flesh, he was fully God and fully man. We sense the wonder of Emmanuel, God with us, and our hearts are filled with thankfulness and joy.

Yet, in the midst of our Christmas celebrations, how often we forget why He came. The goal of the incarnation was not simply to have the Son born as a baby, to give us thoughts of sweetness and light. No, the goal of the incarnation, established before the world was formed by the very words of God, was for the Son to be slain to pay the penalty for the sins of the creation that would turn against the Creator. “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5.21) We know that victory also lay in the path of that baby born in Bethlehem – Jesus would rise from the dead on the third day to show that the price had been paid, that sin and death had been conquered. But first, the anguish of the cross for our eternal life.

So as we celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas, may we keep in mind that, as wonderful as it is to contemplate, it was not His birth that brought us the hope of salvation. He was born to die, so that we might live forever. May you come to know Him in a fuller way this Christmas.


Wayne and Genene said...

Oh Elle, it was good to catch up on your thoughts and activities of the past weeks. I know we have "chatted" but I so enjoyed reading about your Advent Wreath. And just your thoughts in general.
Papa and I were blessed by the piece for the paper. Interestingly, our church here preformed a Nativity that reflect the same thoughts. We are located on a very busy state road which crosses a major four lane highway. There is a traffic light at which there is a huge back-up every Monday-Friday. An estimated 9,000 cars daily pass that way between 4-7PM.
The Nativity started with the stable/manger scene, complete with Babe, Mary, Joseph, donkey, visitors; About 400 feet down, was a graphic depiction of the Crucifixion, a bruised and bloody Jesus on the cross, two occupied crosses, soldiers, crowd; next was a lighted empty tomb, no crowd, just the tomb; on the other side of the church was Christ on the throne with crowns being presented as Handel's Messiah played over speakers.
Down by the traffic light was a gentleman who gave out tracts and talked with anyone who would.
Your beautifully expressed article was a word picture of the enactment.
I hope we can get video or at least pics of the Nativity to send you.
Love, Mama

Laurel said...

You had told me a little about the Nativity your church had planned. Thanks so much for the wonderful description! What a neat way to use the opportunity. I'm looking forward to some pictures or video!