Sunday, December 27, 2015


Christmas came and went, and we are left in an afterglow of merriment. In deed, it is a special time to pause and to reflect on all that God has done for us, namely, in sending his Son for the remission of sin, but also to reflect on the daily and temporal blessings we have enjoyed this past year. Christmas resembled a little more of that time of reflection for me this year. An unexpected slower pace for the holidays provided me with a different type of enjoyment, a sort of respite or intermission from some of my regular responsibilities.

When Jon told me he preferred (or needed) to have a quiet Christmas time this year, as opposed to having a houseful of people, I was taken by surprise. In all the years of our marriage, he's always been the one with a greater need for socialization, and he is typically eager for any opportunity to have guests. On the other hand, I have had to teach/force myself to become more social and hospitable. The fact that I was initially disappointed at having a quieter Christmas is really just a testimony to the work God has done in my life, causing me to desire to use my home, resources, and energy to bless others in addition to creating an environment that meets the needs of Jon and my kids. (To be sure, I have much more to learn, but I am thankful for the growth God has brought forth so far.)

It wasn't long before my focus changed. The thoughtfulness I expected to devote to others would be well spent on my very own family. It only seems reasonable that they would be the primary recipients of my work and attention anyway. It would seem somewhat lazy and careless to say, "Oh, it's just us. I'll just take it easy." It's as faulty as the opinion some women have when they believe the idea that says, "Oh, now that I'm married, it doesn't matter how I look!"

My husband and kids are the people God has given me for as long as we live, unlike most other relationships that come and go with the years. Jon and our children are the ones I am most committed to, and thus, the very people that are the primary recipients of my efforts and affections. This needs to be evident on so many levels.

And so, I tried to do most of what we would do for guests, only there was a relaxation that permitted us to focus a little more on each other.

Olivia did the chalkboard this year

I had the idea to use some magnolia leaves from out front to create place settings.
Olivia used a metallic Sharpie for the names.

They were pretty on their own...

...but we decided to embellish just a bit. We finished them with pine needles, salvaged red berries from an old decoration, and twine.

Christmas Eve place setting

Inviting kids to "help" can actually be helpful!

With terrible lighting, a tripod, and low expectations, we snapped a picture before heading out one night.

Christmas morning

So in the end, I think the general consensus is that we prefer having our own, quiet Christmas Eve following the service at church, a relaxed Christmas morning, and then receiving guest for Christmas dinner. Of course, that would all be different if we lived close to our extended family. This year, however, was just right for our present situation, and I'm thankful for the sweet time it was.


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