A Different Kind of Christmas

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In a world where consumerism thrives, we are bombarded with a message of “more”.  In a world where Pinterest reigns, we are flooded with images of how to create the perfect Christmas.  In a world that says our worth comes from what we do, we believe that Christmas is a time to do EVEN more.

Let’s choose this Christmas to declutter.  Let’s simplify the season.  Let’s choose to have a different kind of Christmas.

Christmas is one simple message.  Christmas is simple and it needs more simple.  Christ was born to die for you.  It’s that simple.

Let’s get back to the basics.

Let’s not allow ourselves to feel anxious this Christmas.  Let’s allow ourselves the freedom to not have a Pinterest perfect Christmas.  We can’t change our culture.  We can’t change the commercialism of the season.  But we can choose how we interact with it.  We can choose how our family keeps what is sacred sacred.

I wrote Seeking Christmas so that my family could step off the busy train on a route to commercial land and step onto a train that inched its way along a track that leads to Holy. Along the way, we will stop, we will experience, we will breathe deep, we will create, and we will hold dear that which is most important.

We will have a season filled with memories and traditions.  And I don’t need to consult any blogs or boards to find out how to make it perfect.  Because imperfect is just perfection in disguise.

Simplicity is beautiful and it needs nothing to adorn it.

Our savior was born in a simple setting, a simple birth, to a simple girl.  Descended from Heaven into a complicated world.  With Him He brought a simple message.

Seeking Christmas is a different kind of devotion.  It’s surprisingly short, surprisingly simple. Intentionally created in  a way to help you step off the path our world takes to Christmas.  It will disappoint the readers who are looking for a book full of ideas and activities.  If you are looking for a book of 100 ideas for Christmas, please don’t buy it.  You will not like it.  At all.

If you are looking for a way to slow Christmas down, a way to intentionally enter the season, a way to create memories and traditions that don’t require online research and multiple trips to the craft store, a way to capture the hearts of your children and direct them to Christ, then Seeking Christmas is for you.

Seeking Christmas was written intentionally simple- because we need a little more simple at Christmas.  The true meaning of Christmas will emerge when you keep your Christmas season simple.  Guaranteed.

 

Let the light shine

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Matthew 5:16 NIV In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

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When the boys were little, one of our first family mission projects was filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  Sparks are ignited in simple beginnings.  No matter how young.

Filling shoeboxes has become a tradition and one that takes place before the season gets kicked off into full swing.  When the kids’ school did a shoebox drive, I thought they wouldn’t be interested in doing our family shoeboxes.  When I made the mistake of expressing that to one of my children, he took it upon himself to begin the shoebox filling.

“Mom, we have to do the shoeboxes.” And he wouldn’t let up.  We did the boxes.  Afterwards, he looked at the 3 boxes and said, “That’s not enough.  We need to do more.”

My response back was shameful.  “Well, you did some at school.  We did 3 here.  And we have the other projects we are working on as well.  It’s just impossible to do much more than what we have planned to do.”

At first he was speechless.  Then he said, “We have to.  I will use my own money.  I want to set a goal.”

In that moment all the years of wondering if packing those boxes made a difference simply disappeared.  They made a huge difference.  He has a heart that cares about caring for the needy.

I was deeply convicted.  Packing these shoeboxes had become a box to check off for me.  A box on our tradition list.  For my children it was a deeply moving experience where they were able to pour into the lives of hurting children.  To give gifts they would love and to imagine the joy on the faces.

I hesitated to post about this because I feared you might feel like I am patting myself on the back and saying, “Look how great my kids are.”  I assure you that is not my intent here.  And if I had time, I would videotape the fighting and bickering and ugly moments to show you that is just not true.

I decided to post this because I believe we need to let our light shine this Christmas.  Brighter than ever before.  It is not bragging.  It’s shining the light of Christ.  Let the world see the good works so God can be glorified.

And then maybe, just maybe, you will have the privilege of seeing how that light inspired another to action and how your good works done for the glory of God have multiplied.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Over the summer my boys hosted a lemonade stand for Blood Water Mission.  One of my friends sent me a message that because of her boys learning about that, he decided to ask his friends at his birthday party to contribute to Blood Water Mission instead of giving him gifts. She sent a thank you to let my boys know they had inspired her boy to take action.

When we let our light shine, it’s not bragging.  It’s giving glory to God.  And it’s inspiring and encouraging others to take action.

When I shared with my boys how the $80 they raised by selling lemonade had turned into close to $300 because someone saw what they did and were inspired, you could have heard a pin drop in our car.  In a rare moment, silence.  The weight of it lingered.  300 Africans would have clean water for 1 year because a group of little boys took action.

It’s not bragging.  It’s not look what I did.  It’s not I’m working to gain favor in God’s eyes.  It’s I love Him passionately and I do it because of that love, and I want the world to see that love and see Him.

Let your light shine this Christmas season.  You can start now.  The giving spirit doesn’t have to kick off on a specific date.  It can start right now.  The spirit of Christmas is alive all year long.

Matthew 5:14-16 Msg  “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

How to Create Seeking Christmas Ornaments

My favorite element of Seeking Christmas is the ornament activity.  When you purchase Seeking Christmas, you will find instructions for using your ornaments each day as well as instructions for downloading here by signing up for email updates.

There are so many ways these ornaments can be created.  I can’t wait to see all the creations from this Christmas season.  Whether you are crafty or not, you will love creating these with your family.

When you sign up for email updates, you will receive your free download.  Ornaments can be created in sizes of 2 inch, 3 inch, or 3.5 inch.

In addition, check the Store page for all kinds of ornament info.

If you are not the crafting type, you may prefer to simply cut out the ornaments, glue the back and front sides together, tie a string and call it a day.  You can take it a step further by putting a slightly larger colored cardstock circle between the front and back pieces.  Or you can even laminate.  This is the simplest and fastest way to create these ornaments.

Some may choose to use photo insert ornaments to display the cutouts.  This involves almost no crafting.

But for the crafting lovers, we have lots of ways you can do this.  And since I’m not crafty, I am really excited for you to share with me your creations!  For now, I will share some of my materials and completed ornaments to spark some ideas for you.

Ornaments can be created with many types of materials.  Below you will see wooden circles, cork coasters, paper mache ornaments, and porcelain.  All of these items I purchased at Hobby Lobby.

For the wooden circles, just pick up a bag of eye screws (located right with the wooden circles at craft stores) and some ribbon or twine.

papermache

corkcoasters

 

woodencircles

 

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After selecting your ornament material, you will print your downloads.  I suggest uploading to a copy center such as Staples, Office Depot etc.  It’s 59 cents a copy.  To me it was easier.  I selected the paper weight (I suggest 110 weight white card stock), uploaded the file, and chose pickup location and time.  Print at home if that is easier for you!

Next, cut out your circles.  The super crafty people will have tools to cut perfect circles.  I used good old fashioned scissors and worked carefully.

Here are the cut outs

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I then spray painted my ornaments.  So fast.  I like short cuts.  Another option is acrylic.  Both work just as well.

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After paint dries completely, you will glue on the ornament cut-outs.  I use Mod Podge because I simply love it.  Just a good all in one glue and sealer.

Apply a coat of Mod Podge to each ornament and place the cut-out on the glue covered surface.

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Then you seal with a coat of Mod Podge.  Simply paint it on, trying to stay in the same direction.  Let dry about 20 minutes before doing the other side.

Finished products

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