My 2 favourite Holiday Traditions

The trees are naked, stripped bare by the relentless wind. The seasons have changed again. For me there is an acceptance of the new and a grieving of the old. Embracing new seasons: the faces of my children maturing, the dying of dreams and the hope of finding new ones, the silver in the hair revealing the passing of the years. Seasons change. They come and go. I feel the pangs of sadness...losses that can never be recovered...but there is a hope - creative ideas flow. The unrelenting passing of the seasons actually is a picture of an unrelentingly faithful lover. I never stop to doubt that autumn will turn into winter, or winter into the new life of spring. He is unrelentingly faithful no matter what. He, my creator, the centre of all that I am. He is faithful.
Remembering Him as I pass into the long nights of winter is to remember the baby, the vulnerable one, held in the arms of a young mother and adopted by a carpenter. The miracle of incarnation. The plan of God, the dream before the beginning of time, to enter into the womb of humanity and bring His Life. I remember. I choose to remember. I choose to turn my eyes from the distractions of this world. I, so harried by schedule, entertainment, too much food and material possessions. Oh Jesus, I need your grace.
The longing for grace and the trying to step away from all things worthless has had my dear husband and I working in the valuable and driving out the empty.
Here is a brief snapshot of my 2 favourite family Holiday Traditions:
1) Thanksgiving. Learning to give thanks. I became a student of Ann Voskamp. Her blog is exceptional . The giving of thanks over time heals. I love reminders to do this and Thanksgiving is a perfect time to set our gaze on this as a family. We have spent time on Thanksgiving morning writing our list of thanks. This year I plan to have slips of paper that we each write on every day from Thanksgiving until Christmas and we'll make them into a paper chain to decorate the house.
2) St Nicholas Day. This is our time to learn about the original santa and remember that St Nicholas had great compassion for children and for the poor. We choose our gift for Jesus from the Samaritans Purse Gift Catalogue. Last year it was a house for a family in Haiti, some chickens for a family in Africa and fish for a family in Asia.

The changes don't happen all at once as we choose life over the empty void, but little by little as we "press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:14) we will become more like Him and love the things He loves and that is what I long for.


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