Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Simply December

When long periods of time go by between posts, I begin to wonder again if my blogging days are ending! It seems I have less time and fewer things to write about publicly. Days turn into weeks. Just when I've stopped thinking about when I last posted, the desire returns to string together at least another post or two. In the end I don't really want to give up this little space just yet, even if my posts are fewer and father between.

Well, Merry Christmas! December has been sweet with simple festivities here, while life is ramping up to be anything but simple in the new year! Things have been very busy for Jon in recent months, and the new year will bring work that will more than occupy his time and attention. Because of this, we've decided to have a simple family Christmas time this year. Maybe it will be the calm before the storm, I don't know. What is certain is that we are all appreciating this simplicity very much.

We put up our tree earlier this month, which is always the signal to begin creating a warm and festive atmosphere. The very smell of a fresh tree energizes me to think about and implement the things that will contribute to closeness and warm memories.

Andrew and Jacob spent time hidden behind the trees while the rest of us searched for the right tree.

Jon would like you to think he dislikes tree shopping...

...but deep down we all know he enjoys the tradition!

In the spirit of simplicity, I decided to purge a lot of my Christmas decorations this year. Living in various homes over the years has resulted in a hodge-podge of random things, with fewer items suiting my preferences anymore. I've grown tired of the garlands, bobbles, and glitter; I am much more fond of simple and authentic decor.

I cut eucalyptus branches for the dining room and filled a large pitcher, and I used various types of evergreen branches throughout the house. Pinecones and logs do the trick well, as do wooly cushion covers and white candles. Gingerbread men have always been welcomed in our home, ever since we had our first Christmas in the United States.

I've always enjoyed using what is at my disposal, and keeping my pocketbook uninvolved. Although home decor is not my strong point, I do feel that simplicity tends to be more elegant.

The afternoon I began assembling some of the greenery, Jon lit our first fire for the season.
The kids congregated, mesmerized.

Baking. Lots of it.

Late night baking with the boys

We tried to recreate the tiny Anthro houses without having a cookie cutter. The pieces we made didn't fit well, but the fun we had was memorable. Even Jon set aside his studies last Saturday night and joined in the fun. His is the snowy church, below right!

My Fourth of July roses decided to bloom this month, so I added a sprig of pine.

We've found ourselves by the ocean several times this month. Sometimes it's the kids and I out for a walk, once it was a family drive at night (in our PJs) to enjoy a downpour of rain, once it was a night walk for just Jon and I. All those times are sweet because they are spontaneous and carefree, shoulder to shoulder with the ones we love the most.

Simplicity. I think what I want the most is simple devotion to the Lord, and straightforward faith and trust in his enduring love for me. Jesus had a wonderful way of simplifying the truth when others wanted to muddle it up:

 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

Complete love for God first, and through that, love for others. How much simpler could it be? And yet, I find myself living like I believe life is more complicated at times. Thanks be to God that he rescues us from all that entangles us! He rescues us from ourselves, from the grave, from lies, from sickness and sorrow... He rescues us from our inability to simply love him.

It comforts me to know that because he came, I am not alone. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He is with me leading and enabling me to do that which is not natural, and he clothes me with his righteousness so that my sinfulness is no more in the sight of God.

Now that should lead to simple worship!


1 comment:

  1. I find myself saying, "What she said!"
    Thank you for blogging, even if just for me. :-)


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