Three Christmases ago I wrote a series of five posts that I really enjoyed doing. So this year I decided to repost them, updating where necessary. In this one, there’s an exciting piece of news some of you may not have heard yet!
I love Christmas! Even more, I love getting ready for it! For the past week or so, I’ve been bringing up box after box, bag upon bag, flower arrangements, dragging plastic containers from under the bed, and decorating the house.
The first thing I always look for is my nativity set and advent candle wreath. They take priority because for me, Christ is the centre of Christmas. When God sent His one and only Son to be born as a baby in a manger, it was the beginning of His plan to provide salvation for you and me.
As I enjoy setting up the crèche and positioning the little figures around the Baby Jesus, I always marvel that God chose such humble surroundings for the birth of the King of kings. Isaiah prophesied of Christ’s coming in chapter 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Next week is the first Sunday of advent, and we will be lighting the first candle
on my wreath, a special tradition we have observed since my son was a little boy.
As we look forward to Christmas day, we will light another candle each Sunday and on Christmas day, the centre Christ candle will be lit. I love this custom as it helps us keep focused on the true meaning of Christmas.
Another special decoration I set up each year is my Christmas village, which reminds me of the Victorian era and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I started out with just three buildings over twenty years ago, and every season I have added something new. A few years ago my dad built me a 4’ by 3’ table to house my growing collection and it’s always such fun putting everything together.
Perhaps the little girl in me comes alive as I lovingly place each piece and hook up all the lights, including lanterns and flashing train signals. The train has long since stopped working, but a little imagination brings it to life. The past three years I have set up my village on the shelves of our entertainment stand instead. There it stays until I get tired of winter somewhere around mid-March.
Of course, I also love my trees. Tomorrow I will begin decorating our 7.5-foot tree, which is sheer enjoyment. It’s always fun unwrapping all the decorations many of which I’ve collected from our travels and from years gone by. My gingerbread tree sits on a table in our dining room and my winter tree, you guessed it stays up until I get tired of winter, lights up a dark corner in our hallway. There’s also a tree on my front porch, and eight small lit trees that I put out there in the planter. Once they are all lit up, it looks so pretty and festive!
Then there are the many snowman ornaments, dolls dressed in winter clothes that I sewed for them, garlands and bows, Christmas platters and mugs, and my winter-theme bathroom decorations. Maybe some people think I go overboard, but it brings me such joy, especially with beautiful Christmas music playing in the background.
One of my favourite carols is O Come, O Come Immanuel:
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
As I anticipate Christmas this year, we are expecting our first grandchild! It’s time for some new traditions to be started as well as choosing which ones to hold on to. But the one observance that will never grow old and will always remain central is the reading of the Christmas story from Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20.
Let’s keep Christ the centre of Christmas!
Until next time,