Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation, Joy of every loving heart.
Stockings hung by the fire with care, a fresh pine wreath with birds nesting between pinecones, lit by a soft scented candle, fairy lights aglow in every corner of the room, flowers and poinsettias reminding of friends gracing our home with gifts, will all meet my adult children who are returning from Scotland, Oxford, New York.. These are some of the familiar scenes that have graced our home for many years and will speak familiarity, comfort: "our place" when all walk in the front door.
I buy 3 wreaths to put on various tables and a candle in the middle each year. Stockings on one hearth and little elf dolls on the other hearth. Pinecones in my big old brass planter at the front door with red berries and a little greenery, and so much more.
I will be returning to this very scene in two days. Clay has put up the tree with lights, the boys and I will finish decorating it as we get home before the others and I will put on the final touches all through the house. I will begin making meals for the freezer, cookie dough balls starting with everyone’s favorites, the snow ball shortbread pecan cookies, (in Lifegiving Table book).
Creating traditions over the year with your family will cultivate a family culture unique to your own heritage. Each of us has agency to decide what is a priority to our own family with consideration of our unique values, personalities and preferences. Yet, when a celebration is practiced year after year, together, pathways of security are roughed out in hearts and minds to remember these practices as moments that speak of love, home and intimacy shared to build life-long community.
Today, my friend, Leah Boden and I share on the podcast about some of the favorite Christmas traditions of England where I have been living, helping to take care of baby Lily and giving Joy support for this very challenging year of study. I have shared our favorite family traditions that have held our own children over the years: I may have my kids on a podcast to share their favorite Christmas traditions:; a simple candlelit Shepherd's meal for Christmas Eve; more books to read, 26 years of a gathering of women to share legacies of stories with cold raspberry soup, scones and jam; Romping from home to home for an evening of meals with friends and silliness shared, carol sings and potlucks, and more.
It is not so important what we choose to do as it is that we seek to be intentional and cultivate an atmosphere of reverence for the profound entrance of Christ as a baby, vulnerable yet announcing and establishing a kingdom where we are welcome citizens, whose history we get to be a part of for eternity.
Your home is a laboratory of the life of Christ, where He can be seen through the incarnation of himself through our music, our love, our feasts, our faith, our peace and the comfort we receive from belonging to Him. Hidden impressions of faith are laid strategically over years of celebrating Christmas together on the foundations of our children's hearts that will speak to them of His hope in their lives long after they have left home. This year, practice those that build the beauty, mystery and hope that baby Jesus came to give.
I will be writing this week about how much books have totally shaped my life and vision. I think the gift of a book is one of the best ways to invest in someone you love. I have received so many letters from women all over the world of how these books have shaped your vision for home and motherhood. What an honor to be able to be in this ministry that I hope is from God’s word and his heart to so many of you precious ones who labor every day to bring beauty and faith into the walls of your home. I know someone you know would love to be inspired by a book and so easy to send.
For more ideas on how to cultivate a home that breathes and cultivates a living faith, with strong foundations of love, pick up a copy of The Lifegiving Home or The Lifegiving Table. A perfect gift for Christmas for a beloved friend.
Hope you enjoy our podcast and of course your day! Bless each of you.