Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Getting ready for Christmas & family

As I sit at the computer snuggling with my bright eyed baby, I'm drawn back to my blog which has been neglected as of late. Ok, really it's hit or miss. But I thought I'd get down some of what I've been trying to process in my brain lately.

This is a fun time of year here on the acreage. All our neighbors are harvesting & putting up hay for the winter.The landscape changes drastically & we got to be a part of the changing landscape in that we've been building a barn! Jeremy bought the plans online & at least 75% of the materials he's used have been salvage type stuff he bought off Craigslist or local auctions. I'm so proud of my husband! (Yes, I said MY HUSBAND because I claim him as mine) While we've been married for 15 1/2 years, he never ceases to amaze me with his abilities! This barn is so cool that I've entertained thoughts of just turning it into a home rather than let animals inside...seriously! We've had many friends out to help & we're so appreciative of them all!!!! Our kids have all had different levels of commitment on different days but they loved to be out with their dad helping with various tasks. Jeremy exhibited great patience (most of the time) while teaching the kids to measure, straighten, use many power tools, and other carpentry skills. Granted it's been awhile since we've gotten to sit on the couch & just 'be' but hopefully our lives will be much easier this winter with a barn the pony & goats & for the kids to play in when it's super cold & they're bored in the house.

While I got to help a couple of times, my primary jobs have been to feed the barn crews, maintain the sanity of the house & take care of my babies. It's really not advisable to have an infant or a 2yo to be on a construction site. Especially with a generator, 2 compressors, & the noises of power tools. All of this time on my hands (read "NO time on my hands for anything but treading water") lends one time to think (read "she only gets to think at 1am, 3am & 5am before she falls back into an exhausted stupor").

If you're still reading, I'm gonna get deep...

What has come of my exorbitant amount of thinking time? Well, I'm really struggling with Christmas. I know. What's the biggie? I mean, it's a fun holiday, right? Well, I personally love Christmas. I have at least 10 plastic totes in my basement full of decorations for the season that I can't wait to get out after Thanksgiving is over. I want the magic of the season that I felt as a child for my children...but my heart & my mind are at war over this. You see, I want them to be inundated with the story of Christ's birth not what present they want. I want them to yearn for more in their relationship with Christ rather than yearning for the newest, greatest electronic device. I want the real reason we celebrate Christmas to be more important than all the fluff.

Then, I learn things like Christmas trees are from a pagan practice and I find myself getting more & more disgusted with the whole thing that I tend to want to toss it all. I'm trying not to throw out the baby with the bathwater but where do I draw the line? I don't want to be guilty of taking something as wonderful as the birth of our Savior & turning it into a Christmas palooza with a little God thrown in for good measure. While we don't do Santa, I really like all the fun things that go with Christmas like the Christmas specials on tv & the decorations & special foods. But how do I make sure that it's 95% God, 5% extras that have nothing to do with God but people just throw them in because they want to celebrate even though they don't believe in Him? Should I be satisfied with it & just go on? Should I feel like a scrooge for not participating in all the extra activities of the season? Don't get me wrong, my heart beats faster just walking into Hobby Lobby with all the great Christmas stuff & the songs & the smells! I LOVE it! I'm just all mixed up as how to do this the way Christ expects me to. What's your take? Help me out.


Mari Bryant- Marks said...

We are pairing down Christmas gifts and stockings. No plastic crap that will go in the garbage in 3 days. We are also following the book "Jesse Tree Advent" it's a daily devotional for kids and parents with an ornament (bought, or printed and colored) that go on the tree each day to symbolize that day's reading. I think if you focus kids on giving to others and coming up with fun ways to do it, there is no reason to give up the music, decor and smells.

Ruth Anderson Muller said...

The kind of things needed to keep the focus of this season on the reason for the season are the same things we need to be doing year-round to be growing our relationship with Jesus. So long as we have the right focus going in, the right focus can continue; if not, it can still be done but it's much more difficult.

As to the co-opting of "pagan" traditions and symbols, I like that Christianity has done that. To me, it is parallel to what happens to us: We pagan sinners come to Christ and are sanctified and made holy. Why not do the same to unholy symbols?