Monthly Archives: December 2008

Are We Unfair To The Pharisees?

My brother Jeff has written a very thought-provoking piece about the Pharisees and their bad reputation. Read it here and leave your comments for him — especially if you agree with me. ūüôā

Just kidding! Just kidding! About the agreeing with me part, not about the thought-provoking part. It’s really interesting, and you should read it.

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Some Good News

So often, we only read or hear about bad news. ¬†Lately, I’ve seen a few good news stories and thought I’d share them with you. ¬†

Columnist Michelle Malkin wrote this article about the gifts we can discover within the hearts and souls of people around us.

Usually, our local news is all about car chases and murders and burglaries. Last night, it was refreshing to read this.

Finally, when so many people are losing their homes and the news is filled with stories of greed, this encouraged me.

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If you are a grandparent (or will be some day) . . .

I want to encourage you to give your grandchildren some gifts they can keep forever.  As we decorated for Christmas this year, I realized that most of our Christmas decorations were gifts from my Grandma.  

Each year, she gave me and my husband a beautiful snow globe or a Christmas music box.  Most years she gave my children beautiful ornaments. Continue reading

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One Last Christmas Tradition

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¬† If you have read this blog in Christmases past, then you already know about this tradition. This one is probably the children’s favorite tradition. It has nothing to do with the spiritual significance of Christmas. It has nothing to do with serving others. This tradition is only about having fun.

On Christmas morning we always have banana splits for breakfast — complete with whipped cream and a cherry on top. ¬† What do you have for breakfast on Christmas morning?

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The Advent Conspiracy

Do you think Christmas is too commercialized?  Are you frustrated that the celebration of the Incarnation of our Savior has turned into a season of stress and debt?  

Our family has been trying to scale back and choose wisely how we spend our time and money during the Christmas season. ¬†We try to choose activities that will foster family closeness and make sweet memories. ¬†We try to find ways to minister to and bless others. ¬†We have also scaled back on the gifts, spending less money and less shopping time. ¬†Now, we’re spending more time baking and making, things we can do together -or at least things I can do in the kitchen while my husband plays board games with the children nearby. ¬†

I don’t want to give away any Christmas surprises because some of my family reads this blog. ¬†But I will say that I enjoy putting together less-expensive themed gift boxes or bags. ¬†I also have learned the joy of giving family gifts — less money spent and the opportunity for extended family to make their own family memories.¬†

For several years, we were giving our children three gifts for Christmas: ¬†a main gift, a new pair of pajamas, and a smaller gift. ¬†This was in addition to the new ornament we gave each child and to the new Christmas hardback book we purchased for the whole family. ¬†This was also in addition to candy for the stocking and maybe even a small gift to tuck inside the stocking. ¬†Last year, we decided to give each child one gift. ¬†We continue to give the new ornament soon after we put our tree up and to put treats in the stocking. ¬†Though the girls miss getting a new pair of pajamas, the children don’t really mind only receiving one gift from us. ¬†They get gifts from grandparents and other family members, so there is plenty of unwrapping going on around here. ¬†

This year, only one of our children is receiving a gift from a retail store. ¬†One child is receiving a vintage gift we bought on EBAY. ¬†One child is receiving a gently-used gift we bought at a thrift store. ¬†Three boys are receiving some really cool vintage toys we’ve had in storage for years (shhhh! don’t tell them!). ¬†None of our children will be disappointed that their gifts are not brand-spanking new. ¬†All of our children will love their gifts because we are getting them what we know they have wanted. ¬†

So that’s the direction we’ve been moving in at Christmastime — less spending, less stress, more making memories and serving others. ¬†And who knew we were part of a larger movement, a conspiracy even? The Advent Conspiracy is a movement inspired by the notion that the Incarnation was a world-changing event and our celebration of Advent and Christmas should be world-changing.

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Yet Another Christmas Tradition

I’ve told you about our new ornaments each year and about our green Advent box. ¬†Today, I want to tell you about our newest Christmas tradition. ¬†

A couple weeks ago, we sat around the dinner table discussing how we could help other people during this holiday season. ¬†Now, when I say “discussing,” please keep in mind that this conversation was between my ¬†husband and me and six children ages 10 and under. Continue reading

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Another Christmas Tradition

I really do love our family Christmas traditions.  Last week I told you about our tradition of giving a new ornament to each of our children.  Today I want to tell you about our green box.  

We have this beautiful green wooden box with 25 tiny doors.   Continue reading

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