Do You Celebrate Advent?

 

Christmas Tree 2013Do you celebrate Advent?

Advent is a personal thing.

Perhaps you attend a denomination that celebrates with certain liturgical rituals.  That’s great.  Rituals bring meaning and reverence to our worship.  Perhaps your church doesn’t celebrate Advent.  Perhaps you’ve never even heard of Advent.

Advent is simply a way to focus our thoughts and our hearts on Jesus and the celebration of His birth, death, resurrection, and His offer of salvation to us.  It’s a time of reflection and heart searching.  It is a personal, holy thing.  What you do isn’t as important as what you do in your heart.

We light candles on an Advent wreath each night in December, read our Advent Book, pray, and on good nights, sing a carol.  Do we do it every night?  No.  We miss a few, but that’s okay.  We just pick up the next night and keep going.

I encourage you to focus on Jesus as the excitement of Christmas continues to mount.

Christmas Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,

Laura

Christmas Gifts for Children… Precedence, Disappointment, and Gratefulness

I heard some mothers talking the other day about how their children were disappointed when they didn’t receive a lot of gifts for Christmas.  It saddened me.  I have a word that has guided my gift giving with my children.

Precedence…. What does that word mean to you?

I looked it up on http://www.dictionary.com/. As I was looking for definitions, most were related to law precedents. That tells me it’s a pretty strong word. I am most interested in the first definition that the American Heritage Dictionary presented:

“An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances. “
This is the definition that has been a guiding thought for me. In the past, my family has been much more affluent than we are currently. Nevertheless, I have always thought about the precedents that I am setting with my children when we give gifts for celebrate special days and holidays. For instance, even when we could afford it, and wanted to give my children their first bicycles, I would not buy such a gift for Christmas or a birthday. We don’t give many big gifts; we never have.

During the year, I look for gifts that I think they will enjoy. I put them away in a box until their birthdays, Christmas, or an I Love You day. Because I don’t give big gifts, they don’t expect them. Because I don’t give them often, they are thrilled when they receive one.

Does this mean my children are disappointed with their Christmas gifts?  On the contrary, they are happy with what they receive.  Thrilled in fact.

When we don’t set a high precedence of expectation, our children are free to be grateful for the gifts they do receive.  They can truly enjoy their gifts without thought of cost or quantity.

I love my children.  I am not required to give them gifts.  I want to give them gifts.  They know that.  They are thankful and enjoy the gifts because they know I am giving them out of love.

Just something to think about…
Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage
Laura
Keeping it simple for our Savior

Give Lavishly….

I had to shorten my list quite a bit.  That is, I had to shorten the list of things that will be finished before Christmas.  Who says gifts can only be given at Christmas or on birthdays?  This week, I’ll finish knitting mittens for two of my kittens.  I’m going to order some yellow yarn from Knit Picks for my other little kitten.  She knows her mittens will be coming.

Don’t despair if you haven’t met your handmade goals.  As Teddy Roosevelt said, “Do what you can with what you’ve got where you are.”  What our family and friends really want is our acceptance, our companionship, our time, and our love.  Give these lavishly and all will be well.  That’s giving heartmade.

I’m Making a List…

I’m busy busy knitting, sewing, and painting gifts already. It’s going to be a homemade handmade heartmade Christmas at Harvest Lane Cottage. I’m even helping my children to plan homemade gifts.

Here are some of the things to come from my needles, my sewing machine, craft table and kitchen…

Fuzzy Feet Slippers

Knitted Christmas Stockings

Dresses for my girls’ Vision Forum 18″ dolls

Dishcloths

A skirt for my older daughter

A dress for my younger daughter

Pillowcases

Painted blocks with winter and family sayings

An apron for my son

Drawstring Bags

Tribbles

Scrapbook pages for the kids’ books

Candy Cane Cocoa

Simple Fingerless Gloves

Wool Mittens

Wool Hats

Wool slippers

Polar Fleece sleep sacks

Crocheted Soap Bags

and homemade cookies,

breads,

and gift mixes.

Oh my, I’d better get busy! Links to some of these patterns are on my Harvest Lane Cottage blog  if you’d like to share the link.

Laura

Happily Preparing for the Most Blessed Season

Christmas Prayer Request

I ask for your prayers. My husband took me to the emergency room last night for what we thought was strep throat. Three of my four children have been diagnosed with strep throat since Sunday morning. Well, it turns out that I have pneumonia. I’m writing this from the hospital.

My children are crying for their Momma.

Now, in my heart I’m singing

I’ll be home for Christmas.

Laura
Longing for Home