I just wanted to take a moment to be pleased that I finished the Christmas stockings! True, none of the ends are woven in, and none of the hanging loops are done, and mine is only about five inches long so far, but who cares? I’m done! I almost expected my water to break as I was closing the last toe – the stockings being the one thing that I had to finish before the babies come. I started Luke’s a long time ago, thought I didn’t like the pattern part way through and stalled out. Then, in a binge of knitting righteousness thought I should finish it anyways. I did, and then actually liked it. Starting out to knit four kids stockings seemed unreasonable, so I thought I would just do one or two this year. As soon as I was working on Lina’s, the pressure was on to finish Daphne’s before the babies came. Daphne would stand at my knee and say “what you makin’ mama?” – Lina would fill her in that it was her Christmas stocking, and Daphne would say “and me stocking mama, and me!” So I pretty much did a knitting sprint through those two, and then decided to try the twins too. Now, it doesn’t really matter if I don’t get mine done (it will be the same pattern as Luke’s, but in the girl colors). YAY!
With Christmas coming and Thanksgiving behind us, we are now seriously in the Holy-Day season. And along with the exhilaration and anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth can come some serious logistical challenges. For example, who is going to celebrate where? And when? As a covenantal community who rejoices in family and generational faithfulness, what do Papa and Nana (or Nina and Poppy, or whatever) do about having all the kids over? And what does each individual family unit do about going (or not going) to Grandma’s? I’m not pretending to solve any dilemmas here, but I will give you a few suggestions or guidelines to help out.
First, for the grandmas out there, myself included: The principle is always to set your children free. This means setting them free from manipulation, emotional appeals, demands, and expectations. And I understand that this is a tall order, especially at Christmas. Remember how you felt way back when you were first married? Did you ever feel the pressure of wanting your parents’ and in-laws’ approval? Did you ever feel their criticism? Do you remember how much you didn’t like that pressure to perform and how you vowed you would NEVER do this to your own children? Well, here is your opportunity. Make your home a place where your children WANT to come.
Daughters and daughters-in-law among you out there, here is my exhortation to you: Honor your husband and honor your parents and in-law parents. Bless the gray heads in your family by bestowing your children on them (in doses they will enjoy). The glory of old Read More
I just couldn’t resist when I saw all this talk about the Advent excitement! As is very obvious by the last couple posts, my little family has been very blessed to live near my parents and celebrate the Sabbath with them. My Mom is a bit of a superhero, and I am sure that if we didn’t ever do anything by ourselves at our house, my kids would still grow up loving Christmas and the Advent season. But just not doing anything at our house would be (to put it mildly) pretty dumb.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I decided to make an Advent calender. A friend of mine had told me that her mom would make a calender out of old cards, and the kids were on a rotation of days, so what was inside was specific to them. We thought this was a great idea, but when we started trying to get down to business, it started getting out of control, and a lot bigger!
The basic idea was that we wanted to put things in our Advent calender like “Get the Christmas tree today” or “Make Christmas cookies” or “Look under your pillow for a surprise.” The concern (I would think an obvious one for mothers) would be having your Advent calender contradict the spirit of the moment. I can easily see trying to persuade Read More
Once Advent has started, we celebrate a little more rambunctiously at our Sabbath table. For starters, we have an Advent silver wreath-shaped candle holder that sits in the middle of the table. Lots of people make an an Advent wreath from fresh greens. Either way, whichever you have, it’s a great tradition. Each week during the Sabbath liturgy, I light one more candle. So, week one I light one candle and then we put it out at the end of the meal. Week two I light the first week’s candle, then the new candle. Week three and four follow suit. And then Christmas Day I light the one in the middle, the candle for the Christ Child.
Now if you want to follow this exactly according to tradition, that will involve some purple and pink candles. I think Jim Jordan (maybe) has something about this somewhere. I remember finding some info on it a couple years ago. But we stick with white with a red candle in the middle, or vice versa.
Also, each Sabbath I usually have a treat for all the grandkids. The first week it is the Christmas jammies. This way they can wear them all month long. I hand out the Advent Read More