Saturday, December 10, 2011

French Influences for Christmas!

 ~Each gift is wrapped with  the thoughts of the one who will recieve....."if our hands are fully occupied with holding on to something, we can neither give or receive"~
 ~French Coffee in a beautiful French cup~
 ~Almond Cookies~
 ~A Gift should be wrapped up and special~
 ~Our French inspired Christmas cards~
~A Touch of Greenery~
 ~A collection of Santa's from around the World~
 ~These beautiful ornaments sparkle~
~Joy to the World.....Glory to God in the Highest!~
Jesus, the Savior..."For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.  The government will rest on his shoulders.  And He will be called:  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6
~Oh to be in Christmas!~
Those of you who follow my blog know, for sure, one of the highlights of this past year was visiting one of our daughters and her husband who live abroad in England!  England is a beautiful country and I can hardly wait to go again to London for the museums, the parks, the fashion, and the shopping, of course to see Kara and Phil!  As much as I loved England, I will have to say.....I fell for France!  The quaint villages sitting perfectly up on hillsides, the thrill of seeing Paris, the food, the people, the cafes, the parks,  the history, the art, the artist, the fashions.......need I say more?  I wish I had realized earlier in life how easy it is to travel abroad but life kept me very, very busy until I had a true and wonderful reason to travel sweet girl!

This year, in my home, I decided to use a few French influences to brighten our home!  I love, absoultey love being at home during December!  I love knowing that most of our children will be with us and that the preparations that I make will help them all feel special and feel loved.  Traditions are important in building bonds within families!  In France, Christmas time is similar, all about family and friends.  The decorations are beautiful, but the importance of helping the poor is very much a part of their Christmas celebration.  Giving to others is a large part of the French Christmas!  Also most villages and in many homes the Nativity Creche' has a place of prominence and children are involved in pagents and programs.  Midnight mass is a large part of the holiday for those of faith in Jesus Christ. The churches are filled with Believers at Christmas.  Many gifts that are shared are handmade with love and  include gifts from the kitchen,  shared with both family and friends.

One tradition that I enjoy is the sending of Christmas cards!  This year, I was inspired by another blogger with a French influence to make a few cards......"Joyeux Noel"!  I do hope you are blessed with a spirit of joy this Christmas.  Joy comes from our spills from a heart that is full with gratitude and love.  It comes from a heart that knows that God is in control of this world and that HE is fully aware of our circumstances, whether they are good or not so good!  God's desire is to mold us and make us into vessels that He can use throughout the world to bring both glory and honor to His Name!  There is not better time, my friend, than Christmas to share your blessings with others.  A kind word, a kind deed, a smile that says "Merry Christmas!"  I pray that your home and your heart are filled with love and most importantly the joy of the Lord! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sharing Love.....At Christmas!

In the beautiful little southern town of Fairhope, Alabama, Christmas decorations go up early and are carefully chosen and always beautiful! There is nothing more beautiful that the First United Methodist church's entrance to their sanctuary!  The doors are beautiful by themselves but when adorned with these beautiful wreaths, they are near perfection!  So lovely!  The Cross against a truly perfect blue sky also spoke of the reason we celebrate this Season of Love!  "Jesus is the Reason for the Season!"......all around the world!

I love the laughter and the joy found on the cherub faces, in the sweet and trusting eyes, and in the smiles of most every little child this time of year.  Christmas shopping is fun when we have enough time to search for just the right gift for the special loved ones in our lives, whether big or small.  We think of them, what they might like, what makes them happy and then search until we find just the perfect gift!  What is your idea of a perfect gift?  Think of the little children going to see Santa and sitting on his lap and whispering to him exactly "the list" of what they want him to bring on Christmas morning.  This little experience is a part of childhood that is priceless!  It is just a small window of time in a child's life.....then it's gone!  The pictures of Christmas mornings though last forever in a parent's heart.

Christmas in our home has always been a special time.  When our children were little, everything revolved around our activities at church.....the programs they were in, the ones that we, as parents were in, the music, the decorations, the tradition of reading the Christmas story from the Bible of God sending His perfect gift of Jesus to be our Savior!  As they grew and embraced the true meaning of Christmas, our focus changed from Santa to Jesus Christ. Many times, they were aware that not everyone has even a small gift at Christmas.  During this time, we selected an Angel from the Angel tree and purchased gifts to share with children who would not have a gift without the gift of others. 

 I do still love to decorate with our Santa's because Christmas, when I was a child, was filled with happy memories of Christmas eve and Christmas morning when Santa brought gifts. Today, when the little ones are in my home, they know that the navtity sets that I have of Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the Wise Men, the Shepherds, and the animals are for them to look with wonder in their eyes, and to touch them and love them.  They are developing a love, a sweet love for Jesus.....thank you dear God for this wonderful blessing!

As we think about this season of Love and Peace and Joy, I hope that you are able and that you have opportunities to share something, no matter how small with others around you.  Giving freely to others is what life is all about and is what ultimately brings us the most joy in our lives and honors and brings glory to God!  He truly and ultimately gave us on Christmas His greatest gift of LOVE! 

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, patience: bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you so you also must do.  But above all these things put on LOVE, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  Colossians 3:13