Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is There A Christmas Gene???

I realize there are a lot of ways people are different. Some are outgoing and some can't carry on a conversation with anyone to save their lives. Some are active, preferring to spend time outside no matter what the weather, and others prefer a good book, sitting quietly to pass the time. Some love children and are really just big kids at heart while others think only mature activities count in the great scheme of things. And then there are those who love Christmas and those who don't. I'd agree that most of us fall somewhere in between, but I can't help but wonder... is there a Christmas gene?

I love Christmas. Lock, stock and barrel. Yes, even the snow. In fact, I'm of the opinion that we should have wonderfully warm weather until Christmas Eve when the temperature should fall below 32 degrees so snow can fall overnight coating the world with a thick layer of white. We can enjoy the snow for a few days and then expect that by New Year's Eve, the weather will warm enough to melt the snow in time for all of us to enjoy the new year in comfort and warmth. Yes, I know I dream big. After all, I'm dreaming of a white Christmas just like I do every year.

I plan for Christmas most of the year. As a bargain shopper, I keep an eye out for sales where I can stock up for the holidays any time of the year. Those 'after Christmas' sales are just the beginning of preparations for the following year. You can find wonderful things for those people who are important to you almost any time of year if you just take the time to shop for them. Knowing that you found just the perfect thing someone will enjoy makes the time well spent, and your budget will appreciate it, too. I used to find more time than I do, but I'm working on getting back in to the swing of sales shopping once again.

I also love to make things. I've painted, cross-stitched and crafted things for many years. I know that some folks don't appreciate all of the effort you put in to things, but I figure that's their problem, not mine. I just enjoy making them, and thinking of that person, praying for them while I do. I just wish I could find something that could be created as quickly as life seems to move these days. Meanwhile, I'll just keep fitting creative moments in where I can.

But the things that means the most to me during the holiday season are the sweet Christmas songs, the joy-filled Christmas decorations, the warmth of the Christmas specials and the time we set aside to spend with family and friends as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. I spend days decorating the house, adding some new things each year knowing our family will enjoy every little touch I add. I'm even contemplating putting up two Christmas trees this year - one in each bow window. And I love baking Christmas cookies although I don't need to eat even one of them. Somehow they taste even better when they are actually Christmas cookies and I'm sure that means they have more calories as well. Then there's the music. I've already started playing Christmas music and we get Christmas programs from the library almost every week to watch now. I figure why wait? There's so much that we'd be hard pressed to fit it all in to one month of the year so we're enjoying it a little at a time.

Yes, I think there is a Christmas gene. I've definitely inherited it. I'm not sure where it came from, as my parents aren't nearly as enamored with Christmas as I am, so maybe it came from Nana. And since I've got it, I feel like it is my duty as a parent to pass it on to my children. Matthew has some of it already and Jonathan's definitely in to Christmas. But Laura. That's where my Christmas gene will shine the most. She's already enamored with all things Christmas and thinks every evergreen is just standing there, waiting to be decorated for that special season. Like me, she'll never think of them as anything but Christmas trees. And that isn't a bad thing, is it? :) Then there's the lights. She sees a set of twinkling lights and she automatically thinks of Christmas. Yes, she's got the gene, too.

As you think about summer coming to a close, I encourage you to follow in our footsteps even if you didn't inherit a Christmas gene yourself. You can choose to embrace the season, preparing ahead of time by getting your house in order, shopping for those you love with purpose instead of last minute desperation, or creating something from your own hand to honor their place in your life. As you prepare to celebrate Christmas this year, put Christ at the center of your season. He loves you enough that he came as a baby, living just as we do before dying to save you. Let this holiday season be the beginning of a new phase in your life. The beginning of your very own Christmas gene.

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