Sunday, December 18, 2011

Home for the Holy Days

Christmas is coming! Folks all over the world are preparing to celebrate what for many is the most wonderful time of the year. "Happy holidays!" we say, often forgetting that the very word holiday is derived from Old English words for "holy day."

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With all the busy-ness of preparing for our Christmas celebrations, though, it can be easy for us to miss the awe-inspiring holiness of Christmastime. Many traditions are connected to Christmastime, but none more important than the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Here are a few things we do to keep our focus on Christ at Christmas.

Our Christmas decorations are centered in our living room, which is where most of my cross collection is found.


One of the first things we put out every year is this Nativity set. It's an inexpensive porcelain set we purchased when our sons were very small. These figures have moved with us five times, and so far nothing has broken. I like displaying it here by the crosses, commemorating both the birth and the death of Jesus.


Other Nativity scenes can be found in our decorations, too, like this primitive wooden one:


It's on display in our living room, too. If you look closely, you can see that the figures are hot-glued onto the stable floor. I don't remember when I did that; I'm sure it's when the boys were very young.


This year we added these Nativity candles from DaySpring; aren't they beautiful? (I read about these at Nesting Place and ordered them from DaySpring.com; I'm not sure if they're still available.)


When my boys were small, we read lots of Christmas books. The boys loved books about Santa and Rudolph, of course, but they also loved B is for Bethlehem, The Legend of the Candy Cane, and The Crippled Lamb. Whenever I read The Crippled Lamb, one of the boys would look at me as I turned each page--to see if I was crying yet. They knew what was coming! I still get these books out each Christmas, and I read them again myself.

One of the most important things we do to keep Christ first and foremost in our Christmas celebrations is to gather with our church family. Our church's assistant pastor, Chris Breslin, wrote a Advent devotional book this year, and he told me that I could share it with you. If you need a good Advent devotional, click here to download one free of charge. There's also a kids' Advent devotional book. I get to help plan our church's candlelight Christmas Eve service, which is one of the most meaningful services of the year.

What do you do to keep the focus on Christ at Christmastime? Link a post about your Christmas decor, traditions, favorite books--anything that's special to you. If you've written a a Christmas devotional, I'd love to read that, too! Be sure to link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. And please include a link to this party. (If you don't have a blog, feel free to link to a Facebook post or leave a comment describing your traditions--I'd love to hear from you!)





16 comments:

Emily said...

What a wonderful link topic, the true meaning of Christmas has gotten so lost. I waited to go to bed for this party to start!
Emily
domesticdeadline.blogspot.com

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

BEAUTIFUL Richella! I love your candlelit nativity. Martina

Shelia said...

Everything is so beautiful, Richella!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Kelli @ RTSM said...

Those candles are so pretty! I won a set last year in a giveaway and I gave to my mom to display at her house...they are a little too breakable for my house right now:) Thanks so much for hosting such a great linky! I can't wait to see everyone else's traditions for keeping Christ in Christmas!

At The Picket Fence said...

This is just such a wonderful idea for a party Richella! It seems even more meaningful for me today...my sweet grandmother passed away this morning and I rejoice in knowing she is with her/our Savior. The same Savior whose birth we are celebrating! And we celebrate that she will spend her first Christmas in heaven this year. :-)
Your heart for the Lord is so evident and you are a blessing to all of us. Thank you for hosting this!
Vanessa

Gina said...

What a great idea of a link up. I'd love to see lots of ideas! ;) I love your nativities especially the little wooden one. I too hot glued one of mine to cardboard one year but since have taken it off. Now the "wobbly" shepherd stands better though. ;) thanks for hosting! :)

Kristin said...

Richella! This is too funny, but we own "The Crippled Lamb" too (and we don't even have kids...another adult told us about it!) and EVERY YEAR, I cry when I read it. It is such a precious story, isn't it? Your nativity candles are just gorgeous. I'll have to keep an eye out for something similar - Did you buy them online? ~ Look forward to reading the links! Happy Monday

Cindy said...

I too would love the nativity candles. Where did you find them?

One side note: The wise men at the stable with the infant Jesus have always been out of place, as they came from far away and estimates are that it took them four months to two years to get to see the Christ child. Our pastor told us a fun way to decorate is to have them in another room to recognize their long journey. I haven't done it yet, but thought it would be nice to share.

melissa * 320 Sycamore said...

Thanks so much for hosting this, dear Richella! I'm not the only one that hot glues the nativity pieces to the stable?? We are awesome. :)

Beth B. said...

Richella, thanks so much for figuring out how to add my Nativity photos to the party! You are beyond sweet to take time out of your undoubtedly super busy week. Love all the photos, thanks again!

Terri said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog today and for having this linky party! I always love peeking into your home at Christmas. Blessings!!!

Shanda said...

I love your decorations. I really really love that you have mixed in the crosses with the nativity. For, without the cross, the nativity would mean nothing.

Stacey@Real Southern Living said...

It is wonderful to see how others are celebrating the season! Thanks for your comments too! Merry Christmas!

Leslie said...

Hi, love!
I will be by tomorrow with my link...ran out of steam today...
Love, me

Leslie said...

P.S. I love your ideas!
P.P.S. I say Happy Holydays, actually!
P.P.P.S. I let Emily put our Nativity today. Wherever she wanted. She chose the foyer dresser surface! :)
P.P.P.P.S. Emily also read the story of Jesus' birth to us.

Leslie said...

Hi!
I finished it.
So inspired by the other ladies who shared their linkies, too.
What a fabulous bunch of friends you have....
Love and joy and peace and hope to you!
~me

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