Sunday, December 9, 2007

Let's Celebrate!

Tiany is hosting Holiday Open House 2007.  This is a fun opportunity to make friends and share ideas.  I’m so glad you stop by here.   Welcome!  Please make yourself at home and enjoy a peek into our life during Christmastime :) .  Please join us in celebrating Christ’s birth!  Relax and rejoice!
On Friday, our family went to a Christmas tree farm nearby.Our hunting-for-the perfect Christmas tree journey lasted for about 2 hours.  We finally did find a perfect tree (all 5 of us voted "yes") :) .The kids excitedly helped put our ornaments on the tree.  Ornaments we use either represent the true meaning of Christmas or are meaningful family keepsakes (eg. ones that the kids have made, ones that are custom-made for the kids mostly given by their grandma, ones that have the kids’ pictures, etc.)

We have cherished our family traditions.  Please click here and here to read a few of them.  Every year…a few days before Christmas, we make yummy goodies and then give them to our neighbors.  We also enjoy going to see an annual play, "Scrooge" at a local church.  Another tradition we started a few years ago is caroling in our neighborhood with some other homeschooling families.  After we finish singing, we hand them some candy canes and a special tiny "goodie bag."  The items in the tiny ziploc bag include an eraser, a penny, a marble, a rubber band, a string, and a chocolate Kiss or Hug.  On the front of the bag, I staple a piece of paper with the following message:
An eraser to make all your troubles disappear
A penny so you are never broke
A marble in case you’ve lost all of yours
A rubber band to stretch yourself beyond your limit 
A string to tie things together when everything is falling apart
A Kiss (or Hug) to remind you that JESUS cares
    and He can take care of all the above
All you ever need in life is JESUS CHRIST!
               ~Merry CHRISTmas~  

Every year we also bring out this Christmas in Bethlehem pop-up advent calendar (you can open each day’s flap/window and see a picture related to events/people/places surrounding Christ’s birth).In our homeschool, this month we have been studying the names of Jesus using EasyFunSchool’s The Names of Jesus Unit Study, singing and learning about Christmas hymns, their writers, and the relevant Scriptures using O Come, All Ye Faithful (Hymns of Adoration and Joy to Celebrate His Birth) by Joni Eareckson Tada, John MacArthur, Robert & Bobbie Wolgemuth, praying for people in different countries using Christmas Around the World map & info. from a Compassion International magazine.  We are also using Eleanor Zweigle’s Advent Study from Miiko Gibson’s website and The ABC’s of Advent by Lorna Anema & Natalie Thomas.  We will be starting the Jesse tree this week using Roots and Relations by Christian Cottage Schools.

Some of the books that we like to read during Christmastime are as follows:
- Christ in Christmas (A Family Advent Celebration) by James C. Dobson, Charles R. Swindoll, James Montgomery Boice, R.C. Sproul
- The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier, illustrated by Francisco Ordaz
- One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham, illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson
- A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
- The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado (and his daughters), illustrated by Liz Bonham
- Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus! by Greg Holder and Diane Stortz, illustrated by Terri Steiger
- Christmas in My Heart (compiled & edited by Joe Wheeler)
- Rock-A-Bye Christmas by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker
- The Christmas Pea Coat by Richard H. Schneider, illustrated by Higgins Bond
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss.
We strive to keep Christ as the Center of our home and our lives everyday, not just at Christmastime.  We are forever grateful for Jesus!  As you recapture the wonder of our Redeemer’s birth, may you be reminded of His amazing grace and be refreshed by His awesome love.  Rejoice…rejoice…Immanuel…God with us!  Have a Christ-centered Christmas, everyone! 

P.S. If you have any doubts/questions about Christmas tree, gift-giving, Santa, Dec. 25th issues, please click on my post titled, "Is Christmas Christian?"  By the way, some years we don’t do a Christmas tree.  It’s not deemed necessary for celebrating Christ’s birth.  We don’t do Santa, either (our kids know about St. Nicholas but we celebrate Christ’s birth, not St. Nicholas’ birth).  Regarding gifts, we emphasize the giving part, not the getting part :) .  Dec. 25th is just as good as any other day to celebrate our Lord and Savior’s birth :) .  Everyday is a gift from God; each day is the day that the Lord has made.  The point is this: are we making room in our heart for Jesus or is our heart too crowded by shopping frenzy, things to do, goodies to bake, gifts to make/wrap, etc.?  Stay "Mary" (& merry); don’t turn into "Martha" during this most wonderful time of the year :) !

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