Candles and greenery are turning up everywhere. Sunday being the first Sunday in Advent – and part of the first weekend in December – we began our Christmas preparations… at least a few initial ones.
We put up our tree. I know it’s early, but I’m like a little child when it comes to Christmas. I can hardly wait!
Saturday evening our church held its annual Christmas turkey dinner and the mood was set. There were candles at every table.
Then in church Sunday morning we lit the first candle on the Advent wreath – the “Candle of Hope” – and we sang:
You are the Hope living in us
You are the Rock in whom we trust
You are the light
shining for all the world to see…
Jesus, our hope,
living for all who will receive…
Lord we believe *
Our children come from muddled parents. My upbringing didn’t include faith or church attendance and Christmas was a secular celebration. My hubby’s father was a Presbyterian minister and in their household the holiness of Christmas was important. Our children grew up with a heritage that included a little of everything that both of us found meaningful from our backgrounds, and it’s a wonder they ever found their way through the magic and the mystery!
But they did… all the way through to their own solid Christian faith. (Obviously it wasn’t of our doing but the hand of God on their lives.)
Christmas can be celebrated in the silence of an unadorned stable, the holiness of our churches or amid the twinkling lights, greenery and decorations of our homes. The important thing is that we acknowledge the Christ of Christmas, the Hope of the nations, the Light of the world, and during this season of Advent prepare again for the significance of his coming.
As I write this, I’m squinting at the lights on our tree and setting my sights on him.
* Hope of the Nations – Brian Doerksen
In his name the nations will put their hope.
Matthew 12:21 – NIV
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
Psalm 33:20 – NIV
But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
Micah 7:7 – NIV
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6 thoughts on “Candles & Greenery, Magic & Mystery”
My favorite song of the season, “O Come, O Come, Immanuel” because it seems like we have built too little time for Jesus in our lives. The creche goes up before the Christmas tree in our house — just. Basically they are done the same day. We may have decorations to add to the tree later, and I may fidget with the placement of the wise men or the shepherds, but both symbols are on display the weekend after Thanksgiving.
I have stocking holders that spell out JOY. I left them up all year from last year. They are over the doorway from the living room to the dining room. Each holds an ornament — a tassel, a jeweled cross, and a gilt harp. It was a comfort to see them all year. They may never be put away again.
We were raised Catholic, so I remember lots of singing and food. And long long mass. LOL. But Christmas Eve was a very special time. I have fond memories to look back on. I tried to do the same for my sons. I’ve never been brave enough to ask if their memories are good. Today I will!
My little man Reece (7 yrs) helped me put the lights on the tree. Generally it takes me 2 to 3 days to decorate the house. I try to change things up every year. My favourite part is the tree, then the village, which seems to be growing ever so large by the year.
Lovely, Carol. Thank you!
Beautiful memories, Carol!
My favorite song is, O Holy Night with Bethlehem Morning coming in a close second.
Lovely post, Mom. (And I LOVE your blog header photo!) The mix of traditions was a wonderful thing — my memories of our family Christmases are very precious! And yes, God’s hand was at work in our lives, but he most certainly worked through you and Dad to bring us to faith. In case I haven’t said it…thank you. 🙂
I have that beautiful Brian Doerksen song stuck in my head now, which is a very nice thing to have stuck in one’s head!
It’s nice to hear from all of you today, sharing your memories and traditions.
Judith, our creche is also up. I’ll have to include it in a future post. Your ‘Joy’ stocking holders sound very precious.
Joylene, you’re fortunate to have a young helper for those lights. My DH would probably love to borrow him since he’s always been responsible for all our lights, inside the house and out.
Diana, thank you. I always appreciate your visits here.
Susan, they are both beautiful songs, for sure. I think Silvie Paladino does an especially lovely version of ‘Bethlehem Morning’.
Shari, I’m glad your Christmas memories are good ones. I must admit I’m still wondering whose genes are responsible for the sense of humour that you and your siblings sometimes display — i.e., ‘blood and guts grasshopper pie’???