Monday, November 28, 2011

Keeping HIM first

I trust everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Our's was full of food, fun, family and fellowship.  We are forever grateful for all our blessings!

For our family, the days after Thanksgiving involves decorating for Christmas!  What a joy and what a dread, all wrapped in one pretty package!  I dread dragging down the boxes of decorations, but the joy and beauty of it all after the job is complete is priceless.  My oldest daughter really got into the decorating this year.  She played a vital role in decorating her great-grandmother's tree, her aunt's tree, and of course our own tree.  I love to see her enthusiasm and excitement; it reminds me so much of myself at that age.  I can tell you memories from every Christmas starting at the age of three.  I always loved decorating, and my ornaments played an important role in my excitement.

My ornaments did not cause excitement  for my husband when we were first married.  You see, my mother and I collected the "Keepsake" ornaments.  Every year after Christmas (we were frugal and always bought on clearance), we would head to Hallmark to pick out an ornament or two.  I loved this tradition and have started it with my own girls.  I also had a collection of Coca-Cola, ballerina, painted glass and homemade ornaments.  The problem was, I liked to keep my ornaments in their original boxes, much to the dismay of my husband.  Thankfully we made a few compromises, and after eight years together, we now have an ornament system that works for us both.  Some stay in boxes; some are simply wrapped and stored. :)

I do cherish my ornaments, and this year my daughter really got into the stories about them.  I teared up when she brought one to me and said, "Mommy this is my most favorite!"  It had been my favorite too as a little girl.  It was from 1989, and though it only looks like a small walnut, when you open it, there are Santa's helpers working inside.  She truly understood just how special these little treasures were to me.

Unfortunately my youngest daughter does not quite understand how fragile these special things are.  She proceeded to take two of the painted glass ornaments and bang them together.  And yes, one did break.  Thankfully she did not get hurt in the process, but we are definitely going to have to keep an eye on her this year.  She has been told of a couple of plastic ones she can play with, and it seems to be working.  She has a favorite nativity scene ornament that "moos" and plays music that has been deemed "hers".

All this decorating caused me to look up some of the reasons why we put up the tree and things...I wanted to share what I learned.  I found a lot of interesting and historical information.  Below is an excerpt from an article "True Meaning of Christmas Symbols" by Sherri Osborn.

·         The Star: A heavenly sign of prophecy fulfilled long, long ago - The shining hope of mankind.
·         The Color Red: The first color of Christmas, symbolizing that Savior's sacrifice for all.
·         The Fir Tree: Evergreen - the second color of Christmas shows everlasting light and life. The needles point up to heaven.
·         The Bell: Rings out to guide lost sheep back to the fold, signifying that all are precious in His eyes.
·         The Candle: A mirror of starlight, reflecting our thanks for the star of Bethlehem.
·         The Gift Bow: Tied as we should all be tied together in bonds of goodwill forever.
·         The Candy Cane: Represents the shape of the shepherd's crook, used to bring lost lambs back to the fold.
·         The Wreath: A symbol of the never ending eternal value of love… having no end.

Share these symbols with the little ones in your life this Christmas.  As we are decorating our homes this year, let's not forget why we are celebrating to begin with.  As I told my girls this morning during devotion, yes the toys are exciting, the decorating is fun, the goodies are delicious, but we are doing this for our Savior's birthday.  It is easy to get caught up in the glitz of this season, but we are to always remember we are celebrating the One who came to save us!  As the parties start, the gift buying begins, the baking has to be done, and the church cantatas have to be sung, let's remember to keep Christ first during this Christmas season.  

Today's Verses
"Thou art my God, and I will praise thee:  thou art my God, I will exalt thee.  O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good:  for his mercy endureth for ever."  Ps 118:28-29

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