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, Cambridge, New York and Oxford. 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.
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, Kristen and I have shared our favorite family traditions that have held our own children over the years: Seeking a shepherd from room to room; 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.
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. A perfect gift for Christmas for a beloved friend.
Below, Kristen and I are sharing the books we talked about in our podcast today. Our famly has over 100 Christmas titles--too many to share. But we hope you will enjoy the stories we shared today. And don't miss two of my favorite Christmas movies at the bottom. One for big and little kids, (my adult kids still want to see it every year--The Muppet Christmas Carol--very touching and sweet).