Saturday, December 1, 2012

Preparing for Christmas 2012

Today we set up our Christmas tree.  It seems like the years are passing faster and faster, and the kids now pretty much take care of the tree themselves.  
 It never takes Squeakers long to get into trouble by hiding in the tree or tipping it over.   We have to be careful where we set the tree up, so that we can tie it to something if we need to, because he will just not stay out of it and we get tired of re-decorating every time he tips it over! 

 However, Monkey is trying something new this year to solve the "Squeakers" problem:  

 Every year we pick a different, and often unusual, topper for our tree.  The discussion usually begins mid-November as to what it should be for this year.  It becomes a fun time of remembering what we have done this past year and trying to narrow it down to one event or item.  

Monkey's idea won out this year...and it was a great one!  He chose (and then made) the world to top our tree.    Last May we traveled to the Creation Museum and we are studying Genesis in BSF this year, so the creation of the world has been a very common and deep topic around here.

But it also reminds us of all of the friends and family that we love who are far away from us this Christmas - aunts, uncles, sisters, brother-in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, and all of the exchange students who have spent time in our home. 

It is also a reminder that our family is an international one.   We came from many different places, but somehow God saw fit to make us one family.  For some of our kids, this can be a painful time of year as they think about their birth families who are far away and to wonder if they are being thought of too. 

And it reminds us of how a tiny baby came to this world many, many years ago to save us from our sins, but also to save us to something better than just mere existence.  

 The ornament of Santa bowing to the manger always hangs near the top of our tree as a reminder that the gifts and the decor and the parties are all second (or 80th) to the fact that we celebrate Jesus' coming. When our kids were young, we always helped them hang this ornament and reminded them that Jesus is the real reason for the season. They now hunt for this ornament themselves and make sure it goes on first and at the top.

As we took this picture, I had to wonder just how many more years (if any) we will all be in it.  Seely now is 19, has graduated from college, and is working full time.  He also feels a deep call to the mission field and this mama's heart knows that my Christmas' with him are going to be numbered.

Mango is holding her turtle Franklin, just in case you were wondering!  Squeakers didn't make it into the picture because he doesn't sit nice when the dogs are around (and they don't sit nice when he's around either!).

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  May you see Jesus!