Delight, Anticipation and Wonder

Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree, .... Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls my mom made for me 50 years ago.

************************************************************************************************* Flickering candlelight, shimmering slivers, golds, reds, greens and blues sparkling on a real tree inside the house; familiar songs that beg swaying and dancing; the smells of pine boughs, vanilla, sugar, spices, cookies, coffee, breads filling the air with invitation each different time of the day, lots of friends and family and hugs and kisses and celebration and presents,stories to stir up imagination of babies, wise men, young mothers, animals--all of these wrapped in one short period of a few weeks--all to fill the heart and stir the imagination to new dreams and the heart with lots of love---what's not to love about Christmas?!

I have had many women write to me and ask if I thought it was pagan to celebrate Christmas and have trees and presents. Of course Clay and I pondered this many years ago and studied the Word and we came to our own conclusions as each family must do. But, we now see even more, how it was the delights of our home and the filling of emotional cups and the fun and making of memories and cherishing Christ and carols every day, that gave our children even more love for Him. Since our family is not pagan, the celebrations in our home are not pagan--nor the ways we choose to celebrate.
And I so love the family togetherness. When my children have lived far away, and now the boys do, coming home to celebrate together--to celebrate all that it is--is something they can hardly wait for--it is another of the invisible strings that ties our heart so strongly together..
When I think about the wonders of the first Christmas--astonishing, bewildering, unimaginable beings appearing on the earth; terrestrial choirs filling the heavenly sky; a heretofore unheard of star filling the night sky; wealthy, learned kings traveling from afar; a virgin birth in the midst of a love story; an old woman and an old man marveling and speaking of the messiah as the baby is dedicated- with celebration and feasting;--our Heavenly Father was the first to celebrate. He was the first one to document the birthday of Jesus--supernaturally with music and feasting and amongst the humble and the kings.
I love seeing the feasting--usually for days--in the old testament. God is a God of celebration. Christmas is a time when we bring friends and family into our home to be refreshed. It is a time of personal worship as I mentioned yesterday and a time of joy-work and preparation to say I love you to our family, whom God designed for the passing down of His story and of His love.
I think that sometimes people are afraid to have too much fun or to celebrate life. Yet, it is only when we do this fully, from our heart that we understand the joy of the Lord--the God who gave us the ability to be satisfied, to laugh and play games and eat merrily.
So, our family makes time to delight together. It is the organic life of Christ, the tastes, smells, fun, love and theology that gives the whole picture of this baby become king and savior. And so in a spirit of love, we celebrate Christmas--His coming to earth--fully and happily.
Some happy photos  friends sent me from the  coming and going in our Christmas festivities. Pictures of Christmas spaces in my home.
Living room coffee table--the stocking my mom made for me when I was a little girl. I love glass jars to put all sorts of things inside. (A good source is pickle jars--the big kind-- from Sams. Good Will is another spot, and Hobby Lobby with great half-price sales.) 
Kitchen nook table--old Austrian table cloth on table with little snow houses collected through the years.
Den coffee table with Romanian hand-stiched cloth.
Living room hearth
Friends and food and feasting in the kitchen!
and of course sweet babies
and children delighted with food and a full house!
the dining room table and talking
The gathering room--living room from the stairs above.
Ending on the Word,....,
and a good time was had by all!