NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING

TL 12-3 NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING

 

P&P THE CHRISTMAS TREE DANCE

GOD'S CHRISTMAS TREE

Today is the National Christmas Tree lighting in Washington D.C.  Here’s video of last year’s festivities.

There is a Christmas Tree farm less than a mile from our house.  The farm hosts all sorts of celebrations year-round, but nothing can replace Christmas!  Each year, 35-40 million live trees are purchased and decorated in the United States alone.  I know our local Christmas Tree farm is very busy in December.

Did you know that the use of evergreen trees to celebrate the winter was happening before the birth of Christ?   Evergreen trees were an ancient symbol of life in winter.  Romans adorned their homes with evergreen branches and inhabitants of northern Europe planted cut evergreen trees in boxes inside their houses in wintertime.  Many early Christians were hostile to this practice, and the second-century theologian Tertulian condemned Christians who celebrated the winter festivals by decorating their houses in the same manner.

The decorating of evergreens eventually became a part of Christmas tradition.  Most people think the first Christmas tree was introduced by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort.  The credit rightfully belongs to good Queen Charlotte, the German wife of George III, who set up the first known Christmas tree in the U.K. at Queen’s Lodge, Windsor, in December, 1800.

Some Christians still don’t decorate at Christmas time with a tree (either real or artificial).  Through the years I’ve met a handful of folks who believe the tradition detracts from the real meaning of Christmas.  I happen to believe there is room for both the secular traditions and the Christian traditions, but I respect others for their beliefs.

My family had a silver tree in the 1960’s.  We had to put little silver fluffy things at the ends of the branches, and there was a color wheel that turned and shone on the tree, making it different colors – red, orange, blue and green.  As a child I was intrigued and easily entertained by the tree.  We decorated it with glass ornaments and a string (or two) of colored lights, icicles (anyone remember those?) and an angel topper that Granny LaVella made.

The artificial Christmas tree my husband and I purchased last year is boring by comparison.  It is green and made of PVC.  The advantage is that it’s self-lit so we don’t have to wrap strings of lights on it – and that’s a good thing!  😀

If you are looking for a perfect Christmas gift, may I suggest a new devotional book by Lucinda Berry Hill?  Everyone needs a new devotional book to begin the new year!

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Click on the link below to order your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SHOPPING REMINDER DAY

TL 11-26 SHOPPING REMINDER DAY (2)

 

11-26 HERE'S YOUR REMINDER

On this SHOPPING REMINDER DAY, let’s talk about Christmas shopping.  You’ve read my blog posts long enough to know the Christmas shopping ground rules, but let’s review just for grins and giggles.

1.  Thank God for your blessings before you go out to shop.  In other words, don’t do any Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving.

2.  Get plenty of rest and nutrition before you mingle in the madness.  Be at your best.

3.  Every chance you get – buy American made products.  Click on this link for a list of products made in America.

http://www.americansworking.com/

4.  Choose your method of shopping.  A popular way to shop is online these days.  Be careful because identity theft is on the rise.

5.  If you already have your Christmas list written (or if someone has given you their list) you will spend less and stay focused.

6.  Make a note of items manufactured in your state.  It might be fun to take a trip to see the product before you buy it.

In Kansas we are blessed to have a wonderful Amish community in Yoder, Kansas with a great furniture factory where high-quality pieces are hand-crafted with care.  A few years ago my husband surprised me with a custom-made desk for our desktop computer.  We’ve made it a priority to support local businesses because as we do so, we put money back into our community.

Handmade, quality furniture can be found in Basehor, Kansas at Custom Mission Products.  They offer custom stain colors and hand sewn high quality foam cushions, covered in fine leather and have no screws or fasteners.

I’m reminded of a Christmas tradition.  When I was a kid, my family traveled to Whiting, Kansas for the best popcorn in the state!  Gary and Marian Schlaegel started raising popcorn on their farm almost 30 years ago. They dedicate about 10 acres of crop ground to growing popcorn.  They package two varieties – yellow and white.  With that great popcorn, my mama always made the best popcorn balls for us to snack on while we opened Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve.

Local folks with high-quality products and reasonable prices.  Think before you shop this year.  ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (14)

CIRCLES OF LOVE

Doesn’t that look like FUN? It’s a good thing I’m not Jewish though… I can’t dance worth a lick and I’m a wallflower. So, there ya go.

Oy Vey! I’ll be honest, what I know about Jewish traditions and customs could fill a very small thimble. The fact remains that I find these time-honored customs fascinating and wish we as Christians had more deeply rooted traditions (other than what flavor the groom’s cake will be).

The inspiration for this poem came from an article I read about the Jewish custom of the bride circling the groom seven times. The circling of the groom is an Ashkenazi practice and is not generally part of Sephardic tradition, however, it is rich with symbolism:

1. When Joshua led the Children of Israel in the battle for Jericho, he was instructed to circle the city seven times, resulting in the walls of the city crumbling. As two people enter into marriage, they face the challenge of breaking down the “walls” that may exist between them.

2. This has been interpreted to parallel the seven days of creation, and symbolizes the fact that the bride and groom are about to create their own “new world” together.

3. Seven circles correspond to the seven times in the Torah where it is written, “… and when a man takes a wife.”

As a Christian, the symbolism that pops into my mind has to do with the wedding rings. The gold is solid and sturdy and withstands any sort of punishment, like a good marriage does. The rings are of course circles which have no beginning and no end. It goes on forever. The Christian circle represents eternity. Marriage should not be entered into lightly, for if you go into it with the wrong one, eternity can be a very long time.

It’s outlined in the New Testament of God’s Holy Word, The Bible, that a husband is to lay down his life in sacrificial love and protection. As her loving husband is obedient, a wife naturally responds with honor and respect.

The promises made between husband and wife is a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and his bride, the church. Just as a husband and wife’s vow to love, honor and cherish each other will last for eternity, so will the Christian’s relationship with Christ endure for all eternity. ❤

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)

FAMILY TRADITIONS

What if we felt as close to our loved ones all year around as we do at Thanksgiving and Christmas? I’m convinced that it is the traditions created in families that hold them together. Some people think that a tradition has to be a long, drawn out ritualistic behavior. It can be something as simple as sitting at the dining room table together every morning to drink coffee and talk about the plans for the day.

The family super glue adheres better as traditions become more important. Any routine you build together will become a part of who you are as a family. The family that prays together stays together – because they pray together. A mutual belief and a mutual faith are the strongest bonds of all. Not only does the family talk to each other, but they talk to God together.

Common interests make relationships stronger. If you go rock hunting as a family, more power to you! Family vacations are a good idea, but to get even more specific about activities is even better. If only two people in your family like to hunt for rocks, maybe it would be better to choose a different activity to do as a family.

My friend grew up in a family steeped in several different traditions. She talks about some of them with a great deal of excitement and anticipation, while others she almost dreads. Make sure the traditions you embrace are ones that all members of the family will enjoy.

 The family is a haven in a heartless world.  – Attributed to Christopher Lasch

In our city there is a River Festival every year in the middle of Summer. It was our family’s tradition to attend every year. We went to bathtub races and watched all sorts of fun competitions every day. At the end of the festival there were fireworks. We took our lawn chairs and sat by the river bank and watched the sky light up every year.

Traditions can be enjoyed all year! It does not have to be Thanksgiving or Christmas to gather your family together for a happy routine. Even though life gets hectic and we tend to get busy once the “new” wears off the new year, we need to make an effort to stay in touch through these magical events in the life of the family we refer to as traditions. 🙂