Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Our Christmas in Pictures

   Birthdays and holidays are over and things are slowly getting back to normal. We have spent most of this last week going through the house decluttering and deep cleaning. I'm taking a break to share some pictures of our Christmas season.
   I know a lot of families don't celebrate Christmas at all, I believe that their decision to forgo celebrating the holiday all together is a very valid one. We know that it is highly unlikely that Jesus was born in December at all, let alone on the 25th, and it was never commanded that God's people were to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Personally, I am a "sucker" for a celebration. We celebrate both of our anniversaries, our wedding anniversary and the anniversary of our vow renewal ceremony. We celebrate the girls "eternal" birthdays (the anniversary of their profession of belief in Christ). We even have a "party" every year to celebrate getting our new school year's paperwork in the mail, making the school year "official" for us. At this point we haven't felt convicted to ignore the holiday though I have to admit that when we were first married we wouldn't have imagined we would be giving up a lot of the things we have given up over the years.
   Our Christmas season actually starts Thanksgiving evening when we decorate the tree. We give the children a new ornament every year so it fits nicely with our Thanksgiving celebrations to give thanks for the many years we have had together. While the ornaments chronicle our lives together here on earth, the evergreen tree symbolizes our eternal life, and the tree lights our need to "let our light so shine before men" in this life on earth.

Bethani's idea of decorating was to push the ornaments back as far as they would go and then let them land, wherever :). See the little pile she created with her first attempt down near her feet?


Here is what the tree looked like a few days later...  

It's hilarious :). There are no ornaments on the top because the girls couldn't reach that high and Lee and I hadn't gotten a chance yet to fill in the holes. And there are nearly no ornaments on the bottom because every time Bethi would pull one off someone would put it back on higher so she couldn't reach it again.
   A couple of weeks later, after solving the issue of the migrating ornaments, we all strung popcorn chains for the tree for the first time. It was really pretty and a lot of fun, and when we take our tree down on Wednesday we'll take the chains outside and string them in the trees for the birds!

    I think one of our prettiest decorations in the winter is our "snowflake tree". When we moved down here and accepted the idea of snowless winters indefinitely we decided to "make" our own snow :). What is really special about our snowflake tree is that each of the gifts underneath has a bible verse or two taped to it that mentions snow, you would probably be surprised to see how many times snow is mentioned in the bible. One of the greatest gifts of our lives is the ability to read and study the word of God :).

   We do not "do" Santa Claus, but we do celebrate St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) in the same way that many people celebrate Columbus Day (which we don't but that is a whole other post...). We do a unit study in our school time learning about the real St. Nicholas and we give each of the children a small gift as a reminder that it was St. Nicholas' generosity and love of God that made him a prominent man in history. We do this partly because it is fun and we like to share good things with our children, partly because it is a great and a fun way to study church history, and also so our children will be very well versed in the truth. There is very little chance of anyone convincing them that a historic man of the early church who passed away thousands of years ago is the "jolly old St. Nick" of today ;).  This year the girls got paper dolls and Andrew got a little book.
   Poor Lee, one of these days the words, "Oh! How about...?!", coming from me will make him tremble ;). I had the clever idea that instead of just giving out our annual plates of Christmas candies, this year we could make homemade wreaths to go with them. The girls had a ball going out to hunt for pinecones...

But when we got them home there were little stowaways running off of them and it kind of cooked the fun for all of us females ;). At one point we were all pointing and shrieking in different directions at the same time :). When one rather unusual spider looking creature appeared to have been hopping around I asked Lee what it was, "I don't know!", he replied, "You scream and I squish!". My hero ;)... Anyway, Lee happily did a really good job on the wreaths with minimal help from us (after the girls ran away shivering) while I made supper. Aren't they pretty :)...

You can also see our advent wreath that we assembled ourselves in the top right of the picture.

December is a fun month in our home for cooking...

Hanging around the kitchen while mom bakes...

and making gifts...

The above picture is of Andrew "making" Daddy's Christmas gift. He added his hand print to the T-shirt that the girls gave Lee for Father's Day before Andrew was born, it was quite comical to see Lee open it up and find it contained his own shirt ;).
   The town of Chapin even tries to help it's citizens get in the "Christmas spirit" by decorating in... sailboats???

Yep, that's what I thought our first Christmas here too ;)...

   We also enjoy walking around the zoo during their Lights Before Christmas and the last few years we have enjoyed a "Pioneer Christmas" celebration with my side of the family that we were unable to do this year :(. We make treats for Lee to take to work for that nightmare of a work day known as "Black Friday", to help keep up moral :). We love our advent nights when we have chili and eat by candlelight while we converse on the meaning of that nights devotion and one of the girls favorites this year was going caroling in the neighborhood while looking at lights.
      Christmas day the girls awoke to their special surprise and then we stuck a candle in our cinnamon rolls and sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. While we ate our breakfast we watched the video Faith Lessons: The True Christmas Story. I love it! It takes you to Bethlehem and compares the legacies of King Herod and Jesus, the King of kings. I would love to have the entire series! We spend the rest of the day eating good food, enjoying each other, and thanking God for the most precious gift of Jesus.
   While we do fairly burst with busyness during the Christmas season we do our utmost to remember to keep our focus on thanksgiving to and for Him, and we always make sure we're never too busy for moments like these...

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." ~Colossians 3:17


  1. Enjoyed the pictures! Bethani has such sweet curls!

    That is funny about the critters! :)

  2. We're not quite sure where she got them from. Lee maybe? He's got wavy hair, but he doesn't care to grow it out long just to find out if it will curl, heehee ;).

  3. LOL, that is funny. :)