No Ordinary Home Chapter 8, Part I

Dear Ladies, I have shamelessly pestered Ann V to share her heart with you regarding Christmas.  She has agreed to do so.  (Possibly to hush me up?!!) 😉  However, I asked her to plan on sharing NEXT week, so we’re going to divide this study into two weeks.  (If you want to keep each discussion down to 1 week, you need to plan the study on your own blog) 😉

I remember the first time I read this chapter.  I just thrilled at the reading.  New babies at Christmas time.  How fun.  (As you recall, we just did some of that last year, only our baby didn’t feel like hanging out until her Christmas Day due date.  She rushed the gun – WHEW! says the thankful mom who gave birth to a 10# baby 3 wks early – quick fan me – the mere thought of going full term can make me faint…) However, as I have re-read it, the baby aspect, although fun, hasn’t been the thing that has held my heart.

This sentence: “Christmas is the one season that must be planned with extreme care if it is to be a time of real worship.” has become my focus.

As you all know, from my nagging blogging, I learned several years ago the sheer delight of having all my holiday things done by December 1st (ish) so we could just sit back and thrill to the season.  I can not tell you how freeing that has become for us.  I wish I could wrap it up and give it to every woman I know.  The more children, the more important it becomes to me to get on top of the season.

(I will also tell you – that same year, Jeff and I snuck off to one night at a Bed & Breakfast, on the night of December 21st.  Something I’d NEVER have been able to do in the past. It was sublime!!! We were the only guests – we sat before a huge roaring fire, carols playing, beautiful decorations surrounding us, working a jigsaw puzzle.  The next morning we ate breakfast in front of the fireplace, with huge fluffy snowflakes falling onto the wooded park – watching the waves from the lake crash in the distance. This could easily become a tradition for me – a night away, right before the holiday crunch – just for Dad and Mom.  OH MY!!!)

However, her second ingredient – seeking Father to see what He would have her focus on each year – WOW what a challenge.  Last year, there was no doubt, we were to focus on the birth of Christ – the sense of imminent arrival – but this year…in the desert…are we to focus on the wise men?  Men who saw a star and followed it, in faith, that it would take them to the place that the King could be found?!!  I don’t know that for certain, but I assure you, this is a challenge that I intend to embrace and ponder on.

So, as we begin this holiday season….for it is swiftly approaching…. is there one part of the story that captures your heart?  What aspect of the holidays will you focus on? Is there anything that comes to mind right now that you will change, because it doesn’t have the focus you desire?

Next week when Ann V comes, I’m going to further pester her (she’s going to change her email address at this rate) 😉 and ask her to specifically share her family’s traditions concerning Christmas.  I know you will be RICHLY blessed (and challenged??) by anything she shares with us.

9 Responses to “No Ordinary Home Chapter 8, Part I”
  1. Jen says:

    sign me up for two weeks from now…later!

  2. javadawn says:

    Ok, it’s later, can I sign you up now?! 😉 (Thanks Shug)
    (That is a direct hint to Someone else to sign up for another week on their blog) 😀

  3. Jen says:


    This year I have been thinking about Mary since July, I think. Even though Dec 25 is highly unlikely to be the date of Jesus’ birth, in light of the fact that we remember His birth on that day I am caught in the wonder of the fact of His gestation. If He was born then, my baby I carry now and He would be very close in gestational age. Mary may have experiences like mine. Am I like her crying to the Lord, “Be it unto me according to Thy Word?” or am I running saying, “My way or the highway, Lord!”

    I’m sure there have been a billion other women in this position, thinking these or similar thoughts. I’m grateful for this opportunity to be among them because it makes the season of pregnancy and Christmas just a bit richer this year.

    Christmas here is a quiet day and not much unlike any other. Shocked? I’m hoping traditions will grow. This year we plan to add Ann’s Glorious Coming. We stray as far from gift giving as we can in our home…commercial anyhow. We’re really still trying to feel out Christmas for our family. I feel like a baby, just kinda learning about the world out there and how Christmas *can* be celebrated without the headache of worldliness cramming in on such a day. After two Christmases together, with the hope of many to come, I am watching and waiting and looking to my husband for some further direction. For now there is really very little to prepare before Dec 1st. This year there will probably be more since family will most certainly desire to crowd in around the due date or there abouts.

    Loved the chapter of the book – loved the story of Anna and Simeon most.

  4. “(Thanks Shug)
    (That is a direct hint to Someone else to sign up for another week on their blog)”

    Goodness, is that lil’ ole me (insert fluttering eyelashes here)? I’ll take the week after Jen:) Just, um, could you let me know what week and what chapter that is? I don’t have my book or my calendar right in front of me.

    I’ll be back to chat in just a bit!

  5. javadawn says:

    Why Shannon, Honey, would I insinuate such a thang to YOU?!!! 🙂 (butter wouldn’t melt in mah mowth)

    Jen, I think your holidays sound lovely. You’re right though, as your kiddos get older, you will find those rhythms that fit for your family – things that will bless you all, and they will be just the right “size” too. 😀

    You know, I think we fell into this trap, early on, where we tried to “do it all” for the holidays. (Get this one – some dopes we know got married the week before Christmas. So, every year, there’s this anniversary thing to celebrate, in addition to Christmas. In their defense, I will say they were broke when they got married AND the church was already decorated so beautifully for Christmas…and they both love Christmas and the cold….they were still dopes.) 😉 😉 Thankfully, however, some sanity has prevailed and we have learned how to cut back on our hoiday “stuff.”

    We do not exchange gifts for Christmas with ourselves and our kiddos. This is a new thing – it’s only a few years old. We spent MANY years trying to figure out how to make Christmas NOT about gifts in any way shape or form…we finally decided that the best way to keep Jesus the focus for our holidays was to take US out of it. So we did. We now give gifts to other people – “What you have done unto the least of these…” as our “gifts” to Jesus. (I can’t wait for you to hear how Ann does it – I LOVE what their family does.)

  6. Jen says:

    Well, I’d love to hear more about what Ann does, but I love her tradition of World Vision giving. It is in the plans for the future.

    So, without giving to one another, do you allow the family to send gifts for the kiddos? This is a wrestling issue in my heart this year.

  7. javadawn says:

    LOL – “Allow”??? There is no “allowing” involved. My family simply doesn’t exchange gifts. My brother lives in SC and my sister is in MI, but they are on disability and gift giving isn’t something that they can swing. (this is a joint decision by us all.)

    Jeff’s family stopped getting together for Christmas. We’ve gotten big enough that we can’t work out a day. So, instead they’ve been trying to find another time of the year to get together. IF we ever do get together with them, really, the only gift giving that takes place is the kids giving to Mom. They have stopped exchanging gifts with one another and as they all get grand children, they really have no desire to give to the nieces and nephews. (Besides, my kids are SIGNIFICANTLY younger than their other first cousins – the youngest of the grandchildren, next to ours, is 4 yrs older than our oldest! We have children the same age as the great grandchildren. The oldest of the great grandchildren is 3 mo younger than my #6. It’s just really odd – but keep in mind Jeff’s sisters were 18, 12 & 7 when he was born.)

    The only person who gives gifts to our kids is my dad. I’m about to put the kabosh on that, too, as he REALLY can’t afford it. I’m going to suggest he spend holiday money and come visit instead. (He’s 7 hrs south of here – do able in a car) He’d save money and we’d get to see him.

    HOWEVER, having said that – I’d like to offer this comment re: family gift giving. One, if this is a matter of grandparents or aunts and uncles delighting in giving gifts to your children, PLEASE allow them that. Consider it a matter of blessing them. (what you have done unto the least of these….)

    IF, however, it is a matter of family members trying to outdo one another in their exemplary gift giving skills and money output, THEN it warrants some extended prayer for wisdom to know how to proceed. We have had times when Father did ask us to continue, even though we KNEW it was a matter of people trying to impress one another. AND we have had times when the Lord has called us out of that “game”. (WHEW, that didn’t go over well.) I sure hope someone with greater wisdom than I can offer you some suggestions here. 😕

  8. GIft giving is a big (did I say BIG?) thing in our families. We have reigned it in somewhat – mostly by insuring that there is no monetary pressure. We put a lot of stock in homemade, thoughtful, useful, etc kinds of gifts. And the occaisional silly gift:) But my mom…oh, my mom goes nuts:) She loves shopping, she loves giving gifts and since she lives so far away from the grandkids, Christmas is prime spoiling season. And we totally let her because it would ruin her Christmas if she couldn’t buy a ton of presents. But we do try really hard to reign it in at home. Casey and I give them each about three gifts each. And a new pair of jammies every Christmas Eve.
    This year I’m really hoping to spend the majority of our time focused on the real meaning of Christmas. I’m trying to decide between doing an advent calendar and a Jesse tree. I want to do an Easter tree this year and I’m afraid if I try a Jesse tree now I might not want to do it again at Easter (boy that sounded awful, huh?).
    We will definitly be getting some things done early. Levi’s birthday is on the tenth and our anniversary is the 27th (we’re one of those crazy couples too) so I always feel so rushed through the whole season.
    I loved the idea of picking one person or thing to really focus on for the whole season. I keep meaning to read through the whole account and spend some time praying about what God would have me focus on this year. I’m kind of in survival mode lately though (although I’m not exactly sure – no one’s sick, we aren’t any busier than usual…what’s the deal?) so I can’t quite get in gear. Anyone want to kick me in the pants, um I mean, gently remind me:), about this?
    I can’t wait to hear more about Ann’s family traditions:)

  9. Michelle says:

    Since I tend to be long winded I posted my answer over on my blog. As I was sitting in the drs office today, catching up on my reading of Ch. 8 it occurred to me that the Lord has been focusing my attention on one theme each Christmas via the messages He gives me to send out in Christmas letters or the opportunity I had last year to speak. Last year’s theme was all the people in Bethlehem who missed encountering the Christ child, the year before that it was the idea of anticipation.

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