Thursday, December 29, 2011

:: Simplicity in the Season ::

Christmas has already come and gone but not without heaps of opportunities to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas to begin with. Lots of time was spent listening to Christmas music, explaining lyrics to curious kiddos, enjoying advent and the days that led up to Christmas. Many hours were spent by the glow of the tree rejoicing and being thankful for the TRUE gift we have ALL been given in Jesus. Here is a quick recap of some of the things that we did to make this season memorable and special.

The day after Thanksgiving we got our tree up and decorated the house. The kids helped put the ornaments on the tree, which is my favorite part of decorating. Most of the ornaments have a special story and bring fond memories like these little pieces that I got from Rene (who many of our ornaments are from.)
And these simple and silly ornaments that I made with John fifteen years ago are among my favorite.

Having these reminders of people I love is somewhat bittersweet - of course I would rather they be here with us to celebrate but they also remind me of how loved I am - how loved we all are and how thankful we are for the community we have and for the prayers that God hears. This isn't meant to be a cancer downer party, in fact, there is SO MUCH to be thankful for including the amazing news we just heard about our friend Amy (who may have gotten the best Christmas present ever!)

As we took time to revel in the joy of the season it was the simple things that helped make it so memorable. We didn't need a lot of pomp and circumstance. We didn't need heaps and heaps of presents. Our memories were made simply by...

Sparkelizing (Analise's word) pinecones...
Making gingerbread houses...
Taking the kids on their 2nd Annual Christmas Surprise...

Enjoying some fun family Christmas Eve laughs...
And the best, most simple gift was the complete bliss and joy that kids expressed when they walked out of their room on Christmas morning. It didn't take much, just a few gifts adorned with simple bows.
Another simple (and special) tradition that we got to start this year began in my family long ago. My mom made each one of our family members a Christmas stocking when we were very little. I used to LOVE seeing all eight of them strung up on the mantel each year.

Here is my stocking...just a tad bit weathered being over thirty years old. And yes, Nuraini is my full name.
My one request for Christmas this year was for new stockings for my own family. My mom got to work in early spring and HANDmade 19 stockings (seven for her own children including their spouses and kiddos - definitely not a simple task!) Her creations arrived just days before Christmas...Markus' tree even has little tiny beads sewn to look like candles because that's how they light up Christmas trees in Austria.
Such a simple gift, yet one that will bring years and years of joy, love and tradition! We love them!
We hope you had a fantastic Christmas and that this New Year is filled with joy, adventure and the constant reminder of Jesus' great love!

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