What is Important to You and Your Family This Christmas Season?

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“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall,
the genial flame of charity in the heart.”

~Washington Irving

It seems we grow so very busy around Christmas time.  What are we busy with?  Is it shopping, cooking, cleaning, worrying that we aren’t buying enough…doing enough?  Could it be that maybe, just maybe, we need to rethink the whole month of December?
What’s most important?
Who’s most important?
Can we make a choice and a plan right now to focus on those two things?
The goal is to spend this month doing those thingsthat really matter with those who really matter.

First, set some time aside, fifteen minutes, an hour, and afternoon, whatever you have.  Use this time to brainstorm what is most important to you and your family this month.  This will be different for each family.  It may even be different for each family member.  Now is the time to get your thoughts on paper; then, speak with your husband and even your children.  Consider traditions, hospitality, giving, creating things, cooking, Advent activities, church activities.  Which things are most important?  Which things are you ready to let go?  Think about how much time and preparation each of those things will take.

Next, think about who’s most important.  Your husband and children are a given.  Extended family?  Friends?  Church members whom you don’t know well but would like to get to know?  Your children’s friends?  Business associates?  Your best girlfriends?  The new family in the neighborhood, strangers?  You get the idea.  Who do you want to make sure that you make time for this month?

Now, think about your home, family, homeschool, business, and church activities.  How do they fit into the calendar?  Do they meet the most important criteria?  Is there anything that needs to be pruned for a season? 

Now’s the time to think and plan for all these things.  Fit these things into the calendar leaving white space on your calendar for quiet evenings at home and for spontaneity and rest.  This will be challenging but worth it.  You can do this.   You can make this the best Christmastime ever by doing what is most important to you with those who are most important to you.

Be blessed,

Laura

Happy at Home

Modest Mondays – Mom’s the Word

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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

A Cozy Christ Centered Christmas

Christmas time!  It even sounds lovely.  For us, the Christmas season begins the first of December.  We focus each evening on the birth of Jesus Christ.  We want there to be no question in  our children’s minds about what Christmas is all about. 

 Several years ago, we sold our house in the middle of November.  We were supposed to move into our new home in two weeks.  Mind you, we had a ten year old, a four year old, a two year old and a newborn.  Two weeks turned into seven weeks!  Momma had to make Christmas.  We spent the entire Christmas season and Christmas itself in that motel room watching the wonderful celebrations on the Home and Garden Channel and the Food Network.  That experience changed the way I “make Christmas” for my family forever.  All of our Christmas things were in storage.  A friend loaned us a pre-decorated two foot tall tree.   I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a couple of new Christmas decorations to put about and some candles.  Then, I made the most wonderful discovery in my local Bible bookstore. 

I found a wonderful, beautifully illustrated Advent book.  It has doors that the children open each night that reveal beautiful paintings and the story of the birth of Christ.  This isn’t a kiddie book; it is art.  It is called THE ADVENT BOOK by Jack and Kathy Stockman.  The price was steep, $35.00 at the time; but, I knew that I had to make this season special.  We love this book so much, I want to give each of the kids a copy of their own when they marry. 

Each evening, we gather in the living room.  We light the candle that is above our Nativity scene; and then, we take turns reading the Christmas story from this wonderful book.  The days are numbered 1-25.  On December 1st we read day 1.  Each day we read from the beginning up to the present day.  So tonight, we will read days 1-14.  I love it because my little ones are learning it by heart. 

After we read it, we may read another Christmas book, or sing Silent Night and another carol or two.  It is a cozy way to bring our focus back to Lord Jesus and to calm down at the end of the day.

Here is a list of some of the Christmas books our family enjoys:

The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman

One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham

The Very First Christmas by Paul Maier

The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs

Annika’s Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis 

The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

May you find peace and joy in your celebration of Christ’s birth during this Christmas season.

Laura