Monday, December 14, 2015

MY HOLIDAY DECORATING


Holiday decorating.

Love it!

I have a true confession to make, though.

Last year, I just never got around to it.

I didn't really have any good reasons.

Part of it might have been that it was the first Christmas after my dad died earlier that year.  Part of it might have been that it was just going to be "The Hub" and I together on Christmas Day.   Part of it might have been that I was just tired and lazy and stressed and discouraged.

Bah humbug.

But, let me tell you.  I regretted not decorating.  Big-time.  Something was lost by having the "same old house" for the holidays.

This year I determined that I would NOT repeat the same mistake.

So, a few days ago, "The Hub" pulled out the Christmas decoration boxes from the shed, brought them into the house, and we got to work!


We started with our tree.

For all of my life, I have always had a real Christmas tree.

I really enjoyed walking through the tree lots, searching for *the one.*

I loved bringing it home, and lovingly placing the trunk into water and putting a tree skirt around it to keep it warm, and smelling the delicious aroma of fir.

Finding dried out needles in August?

Did not love that so much…

But, I held on to my real-tree tradition like a dog with a branch to chew on.

However, in the summer of 2013, we were evacuated from our mountain home for four days when a wildfire threatened to consume our tiny community.

Later that same year, "The Hub" and I were in a certain home-improvement store when we saw a display featuring artificial trees.

We looked at each other.

I said, "Maybe this is the year we should make the change.  It would be so much safer."

He looked back at me and said, "I think you're right."

So, we purchased a "fake tree."

That's what I kept calling it in my head.

Fake.

But, you know what, after we had assembled the whole thing, and spread out the branches, and lit up the pre-strung tiny white lights – well, I was taken aback.

It looked beautiful.

Full and green and, well, REAL!

As for the delicious aroma of fir?

I just crank up my oil diffuser and fill the house with the wafting scent of *tree*!!


This year I eagerly looked forward to pulling out our tree.

Which I no longer think of as "fake" – it is now lovingly known as self-sufficient!

We have so many ornaments!!

Some that I have saved from when my sons were growing up, and some we've collected throughout our marriage together.

It makes for an interesting mix of Hallmark, cowboy, cabin, wildlife, Southwest, and Santa!

Isn't it interesting how each one of us has our particular *style* when it comes to decorating our trees?

Some like silver and shiny, others like color and bows.  

Some trees are green, and some look snowy.

(Sidenote:  Truly, does anyone miss that fiberglass stuff we used to stretch across the branches to look like snow, and then spent forever picking bits of it out of our fingers?  Or how about those strings of tinsel?  I used to carefully place one strand at a time.  Others, not mentioning any names (brother), might have thrown entire clumps willy-nilly at random branches).


And then, there's the lights.

Everyone seems to have a preference for that, too.

My mom used to have these bubble lights.  You know, the old-fashioned ones that had a little bulb on the end, and then a glass tube with different colored liquid in it.  When the lights went on, the liquid would heat up and bubble – all in living technicolor.

Whatever happened to those?

Probably not energy-efficient, and most likely a heat hazard for both tree and human limbs!


OK, so then "The Hub" and I spent two afternoons stringing outdoor lights.  (Yes, folks, when I decided to atone for last year's Scrooge Christmas, I decided we were going to go all out!)

We strung lights around our entry, and along the railings, and down the railroad-tie steps that lead up to our house.  And then, to complete our fantasyland, we wrapped six of our trees with strings of tiny colored lights.  (This took forever, and gave whole new meaning to the idea of being a tree-hugger…)

TA DA!!

Last night I walked outside and got into perfect position for viewing.

I shut my eyes, while "The Hub" went to plug it all in.

I sensed the lights on my eyelids, and waited in gleeful anticipation for the unveiling.

"Open your eyes!"

Oh, it was just perfect!

Do you know that I actually jumped up and down and clapped my hands?!

I felt like a child again!


Finally, I attended to all the inside decorations.

I like my inside stuff.

It's a weird, eclectic mix, too!

But all of it has a certain place to go, and a certain way to be displayed.

Especially my *vignettes.*

One of my favorite things is an Advent cabin!

Each day leading up to Christmas, I open a tiny door on either side of the cabin.  And, each day I add a small forest creature to the surrounding scene. This morning (the 10th), I added a tiny brown mouse.

I have some Peanuts sets, one depicting a nativity scene.  (Guess who baby Jesus is – it's Woodstock!!)

I have also collected Playmobil sets throughout the years.

I have one little scene with icebergs and Eskimos and polar bears and penguins.  With, of course, a Santa who, fortunately, is used to the climate.

Then I have a scene depicting Santa arriving in his sleigh, complete with eight reindeer!  Next to that is a light-up Christmas tree surrounded by gifts and toys.  There's also a miniature calliope, which amazingly still plays its music after umpteen years!

I especially love my nativity set.

It gives me great joy setting this up.

Of course, I must have all the characters in just the *perfect* place.

The three wise men have to be in their proper order, and angled *just so* toward the baby Jesus.  Same thing with the shepherd and the little angels on the other side.  (Not to mention the camel, the sheep, the steer, and the donkey!)

And then, of course, I have added Santa.

Because in my mind, Father Christmas believes in Jesus!!


We finished everything last night, and I'm so pleased with the holiday touches to our "not just the same old house."

I've got to give "The Hub" a round of applause for his patience with me.

Because, you see, everything's got to be correct and precise.

And the process of getting everything perfect to my eyes can be tiring.

This year it just might have involved a few extra rounds of re-stringing around a tree trunk (or two…or six) until the lights were perfectly spaced.  And it just might have involved a few rearrangements of some ornaments.  And it could have possibly entailed a great deal of set decorating to get everyone and everything into their proper places in my vignettes.

But when it was all done, and I took it all in…

I smiled.

And you know what I thought to myself?

"I wonder if this is how God felt when He stood back and looked at His creation?"


Now, there's no way that I have reached that standard of perfection in my meager decorating efforts.

But, I think my satisfaction and joy was a taste of what He felt.

"God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good…" (Genesis 1:31, AMP)

I think He smiled.

I can only imagine His joy in creating life, in all its myriad ways of expression.

Did He hang the Sun and Moon with a shout, and then quietly whisper each star into existence by its own name?

Did He shape the Earth with the care of a Potter's hand, so that it would sustain the life He was bringing?

Did He chuckle at an elephant's trunk, and beam at the majesty of a whale?

Did He laugh at the antics of a chipmunk, and grin at the plumage of a peacock?

Did He take great pride in creating the big creatures, and delight in the tiny members of His newly created Kingdom?

And then, what of man and woman?

The culmination of His creation.

The image-bearers of His very being.

What must He have felt about that?!

How deeply satisfied He must have been at seeing it all *just so*everything in its proper place, and everything functioning in its perfect role and purpose.  

How pleased He must have been to see the beauty His painstaking efforts had fashioned.

And then He rested, not because He was tired, but because creation was complete.


Creation – a miracle.

Yes, it was very good.


Of course, we all know the familiar and heartbreaking story about how sin entered the world.

Have you ever shattered a beloved keepsake?  Or crashed a car?  Or ruined a project?  Or lost a loved one?

Again, only a glimpse of what His heart must have felt.

But, of course, God is God – and so He had a plan, even for this.

And what did He do?

He created His very own vignette, the very first Nativity scene!

He directed the heavens to shine a bright light.

He fashioned the stable, and placed the manger in its proper place.

(I think He made sure that animals were there – so that just as they had witnessed the creation of man, now they would see the birth of the Son of Man!)

He made sure all the inns were booked up.

He orchestrated events so that Mary and Joseph arrived, at just the right time.

He sent an angel to speak to the shepherds.

And when the surroundings were all complete, when the whole world was angled *just so,* when everything and everyone was in its proper place, He did something incredible.

He brought forth the Savior.

Life.

The Life that would bring life in all its myriad ways of expression.

Abundant.  Full of hope.  Born again.  Eternal.

Yes, it was very good.

It was perfect.


I have so enjoyed decorating, and I derive great pleasure in the final result. I am delighted by the festive surroundings, and take great satisfaction in having everything *just so.*

And I am grateful for the insight it has given me into the heart of the Creator.

A chance to know, at least in part, His satisfaction, pleasure, delight, and joy – His enjoyment of His creation.

But more than anything, I am grateful for the scene that He created in a little town called Bethlehem.


Yes, I love His nativity best of all.






O Christmas Tree.





Long lay the world
in sin and error
pining...

His Light
is the cure
for our darkness.




The LORD God
sent His Son,
bringing
salvation
to the world.

And behold,
it was very good. 




(This is long, but I especially like this accounting of Creation as it's expanded in the Amplified Version of the Bible.  Might I encourage you to reread it again, with a sense of wonder at the miraculous beauty of it all…)


THE CREATION

In the beginning God…created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth.

Day One:

And God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light.  God saw that the light was good (pleasing, useful) and He affirmed and sustained it; and God separated the light [distinguishing it] from the darkness.

And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night.  And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

Day Two:

And God said, 'Let there be an expanse [of the sky]'…And God made the expanse [of sky]…and it was so [just as He commanded].

God called the expanse [of sky] heaven.  And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

Day Three:

Then God said, 'Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place [of standing, pooling together], and let the dry land appear'; and it was so.

God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that this was good (pleasing, useful) and He affirmed and sustained it.

So God said, 'Let the earth sprout [tender] vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit'…and it was so.

The earth sprouted and abundantly produced vegetation, plants yielding seed…and trees bearing fruit with seed in them…and God saw that it was good and He affirmed and sustained it.

And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Day Four:

Then God said, 'Let there be light-bearers (sun, moon, stars) in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be useful for signs (tokens) [of God's provident care], and for marking seasons, days, and years; and let them be useful as lights in the expanse of the heavens to provide light on the earth'; and it was so, [just as He commanded].

God made the two great lights – the greater light (the sun) to rule the day, and the lesser light (the moon) to rule the night; He made the [galaxies of] stars also [that is, all the amazing wonders in the heavens].  God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to provide light upon the earth, to rule over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good and He affirmed and sustained it.

And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Day Five:

Then God said, 'Let the waters swarm and abundantly produce living creatures, and let birds soar above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.'  God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves…every winged bird…and God saw that it was good and He affirmed and sustained it.

And God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.'

And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Day Six:

Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures…livestock, crawling things, and wild animals of the earth'…and it was so [because He had spoken them into creation].  So God made the wild animals of the earth…and the cattle…and everything that creeps and crawls on the earth…and God saw that it was good (pleasing, useful) and He affirmed and sustained it.

Then God said, 'Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth.'

So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.  And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth…'

And it was so [because He commanded it].

God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good and He validated it completely."


(From Genesis 1, Amplified Version)



(And then, of course, read these verses, with a sense of wonder at the miraculous beauty of it all…)


"For this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah)." (Luke 2:11, AMP)

"For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16, AMP)

"[Jesus] said, 'It is finished!'  And He bowed His head and [voluntarily] gave up His spirit." (John 19:30, AMP)


"And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new…It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To the one who thirsts I will give [water] from the fountain of the water of life without cost.  He who overcomes [the world by adhering faithfully to Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior] will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.'" (Revelation 21:5-8, AMP)




Have you stopped and pondered the wonder and beauty of God's creation, and the miracle of His nativity scene?!




Linked with:

SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, REFLECT LINKUP, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING MONDAYS, SHARING HIS BEAUTY, CHRISTMAS JOY BLOG HOP, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, UNITE LINKUP, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, RA RA LINKUP, TEACHING WHAT IS GOOD, WISE WOMAN, TELL HIS STORY, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, WOMEN WITH INTENTION, JOYHOPELIVE LINKUP, WORSHIPFUL WEDNESDAY, LIVING PROVERBS, LIVE FREE THURSDAY, THURSDAY FAVORITE THINGS, SITTING AMONG FRIENDS, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, EVERYDAY JESUS, SHINE LINKUP, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, FAITH 'N FRIENDS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, FAITH & FELLOWSHIP, GRACE & TRUTH, TGI SATURDAYS, DANCE WITH JESUS, ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS, NO RULES WEEKEND PARTY, WEEKEND WHISPERS, SMALL VICTORIES SUNDAY, WORD OF GOD SPEAK, GIVE ME GRACE, SOCIAL BUTTERFLY SUNDAY




BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

41 comments:

  1. I think you more than made up for last year! I know it looks beautiful... I am always blessed by your gift of turning anything and everything into a beautiful spiritual application, with real truth and clarity, but manage to be so real that it always reminds me of me. :) Your scripture are so applicable Sharon, this is a seriously fun, wise, and wonderful blog!

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  2. Beautiful tree :) Did seem like you did a lot of great decorating this year, Sharon :) I have a confession, I haven't decorated for the past 2 years :)

    I do believe it delighted God when he was creating the world; that is why things are so beautiful here I would imagine; he lovingly weaved it all together. And then he lovingly weaved it again at just the right moment for Jesus to be born :) Truly a magnificent creator he is :)

    Merry Christmas!

    betty

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  3. I didn’t do much Christmas decorating last year either. But my excuse was just laziness. So this year I got everything back out again, and it feels nice. I may go to an every-other-year plan of going all out. :) Your Advent cabin sounds delightful. We have an Advent calendar; I really miss our girls who kept up with it everyday when they were at home!

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    1. I liked the Advent Cabin also!!! (forgot to mention that) :)

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  4. What a delightful post, my friend. Your decorations look so beautiful! I am loving your Santa in the nativity and sweet little Woodstock as baby Jesus :) I am so glad that you decided to decorate and that you are finding yourself in a better place this Christmas. There have been years when I haven't felt like decorating for one reason or another but I think I will always remember this post as a reminder as to why I need to. What a perfect application :) Blessings to you, Sharon.

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  5. First, thank you for your wonderful comment on my blog-I love the TACKY acronym! Second, it really is uncanny how much alike our thoughts were this week. Third, I LOVE Peanuts (having played Snoopy in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"), and my son collected Playmobil when he was a wee lad. I love that you took a picture of Woodstock. That's adorable! Your tree looks lovely. God bless you this week. I can't wait to see if our thoughts gel together next week (mine's already written).

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  6. This is such a great post! Love the nativity scenes (Woodstock made me giggle). Your tree is beautiful (I still place the tinsel on one at a time). I am also glad that you found your joy in Christmas again and the miracle it gave you. I believe your dad helped you with this and is smiling now

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    1. I agree about Sharon's dad! Really smiling BIG!

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  7. Smiling big over your exuberance. I'm thankful that my boys get into decorating with so much joy. Thanks for your wonderful post!

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  8. I had to smile when I read your post. This may just be "my" year for not decorating. I went to try to get my Christmas decor out, and found it at the very back of our storage with a ton of things piled on and around it. We downsized this summer, and I probably don't even have room in our new living room for any of it. So, it is probably going to stay there, in storage, lol. I enjoyed your post, and your tree is beautiful :)

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  9. I enjoyed this post so much! Especially the unexpected analogy at the end of our Great God and Creator standing back and looking at all He had created, and insight that sheds light on His relationship with us, one of great joy and love.

    Thanks so much for sharing. Merry Christmas!

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  10. Oh Sharon ... thank you! I marvel at how beautiful you depict (write) the details of creating Christmas in your beautiful home and such picturesque decorations. I was hoping to see your house aglow with the lights because I too applauded the two of you stringing and decorating inside and out, with much anticipation of seeing some Christmas spirit.

    As for me, I am like you were last year (no real reason, just not decorating at all inside or out, after all, it's not like being home in MN with snow or winter spirit and family) ... but inside me, I've been spending much time preparing this year. And even though my blog's sharing Carol's JOY, I just don't feel it in my life. But not bah-humbug at all {at least not yet} {especially after reading this and your half hour of faithful response(s) at AG} What I really have gotten into this year is CHRISTmas music; new and old classics; and really enjoying listening to them all.

    Gorgeous tree and nativities! Love Peanuts! You are so unique!

    Truly a delight to ponder all this and Creation! God's Wonder! God's beauty! The King born of Israel ... and once again you capture it all with such a beautiful spiritual connection, not unwrapping the gift of Christmas, but (w)rapping it ALL up in His Presence (presents). You are a gift! Thank you for brightening up my season. Little ones especially make Christmas worth getting it decorated ... and special! :)

    {when you were describing the miracle of Creation and then sin, what came to my mind as you made comparisons, was "dropping a special, priceless ornament" ... and than I recalled all my Christmas treasures/ornaments and my mom's nativity, are gone in the fire. So if I ever do get home to MN, I'll be starting over or keeping it simple, I'm sure. Perhaps I'll have a revived spirit like yours this year as compared to last. I get this totally.}

    Sorry for my lengthy response just lingering in the Christmas Light and Joy you share. (and actually smiling :)

    A blessed and merry Christmas! (((hugs))) LOVE, peace, joy and hope ... Peggy ... I sent you something on 12/12

    P.S. Thanks also for wishing TR a special day! you really blessed the heart of this "fake" mom ... but look how we become REAL. Much like the Velveteen Rabbit, huh?

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  11. I loved your post, All the things we do at christmas make it a unique special time for those we hold dear. At my parents residence, God bless them, my Mom still puts out the Nativity set which she made when I was eight... I love it! Everytime I look at it I can sense a disturbance in the space time continuum - like I'm time travelling to the past! Merry Christmas!

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  12. very beautiful my sweet friend.

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  13. I love holiday traditions. Thanks for sharing yours and the cute photos. Merry Christmas!

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  14. That is a great illustration of how God viewed His creation, everything in its proper place. That is one of my favorite things about decorating, stepping back when I'm finished and finding pleasure in it all. I like your nativity set with Santa :) Thanks for sharing your wonderful Christmas story and the scriptures! Merry Christmas!

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  15. Beautiful tree Sharon. Due to the coldness of our weather I have never been one to spend time on outside decorations. Money had something to do with it also. :( Anyway, our tree is up and our house is warm and inviting to anyone who wants to visit. I'm content with that. Now all I need is a grandson to come visit. :)

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  16. sharon, i enjoyed reading about your christmas this year:) enjoy!

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  17. I enjoyed your upbeat post. We, too, are decorating our home this year because the family is coming and we can't wait to see the little ones' re-action to all the lights and toys! Love the creation theme because "Creator" is my word for the coming year and I'm seeing it everywhere in a new light!

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  18. I love that nativity. Hooray for the decorations. :)
    Enjoy the holidays!

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  19. I been going leaner and leaner on the Christmas decorations the past couple of years but I refuse to let go of putting up a Christmas tree. I always enjoying looking at the lights. Your tree is lovely Sharon.

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  20. I love thinking about how I feel about putting up our crazy, wild tree and then thinking about how God must have felt after creating the world (and us!). Such a powerful thought for me today. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

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  21. I'm currently figuring out how to celebrate holidays in this new stage of my life so it was quite refreshing to read how you celebrate yours! Thank you for sharing!

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  22. I would love to have a real tree but since I have so many ornaments it just doesn't work for me anymore. I now keep my tree up until mid-January. A real tree just wouldn't last. My tree's are a mixture of everything and I love it that way. Our very first tree was just lights, colored balls and tinsel. I also remember the year that my parents had the silver fake tree!!! Your tree looks lovely and I adore the trough with Woodstock, so darn cute. Merry Christmas. Blessings to you and yours.....

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  23. I think I am tired ! Last year I purchased a small artificial (fake) tree that sits on a pedestal. We left it up all year cause it doesn't take up room in the corner. This year it needed new lights so there you go. I am glad your tree is so lovely and bringing you and hub joy. We do need to do some decorating even if we are tired. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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  24. We just finished lighting the channukah candles and each night I thought how the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot comprehend it. Love that. However we celebrate, faith has incredible peace and freedom. Happy Thursday Sharon. Love your insights.

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  25. I'm so thankful He was precise in His work and we can marvel at His masterpiece! Merry Christmas!!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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  26. We switched to a 'fake' tree many years ago because of my mom's severe tree allergies. She finally decided her desire for a 'real' tree wasn't worth spending the whole Christmas season sick! I love our tree (though I look forward to the day when we don't have to fence it off for protection, lol). Last year I wasn't in the mood for Christmas. We still had everything up, but due to post-partum depression I just didn't have any Christmas spirit to go along with it. This year, though, I am back to enjoying things. My favorite parts of Christmas (outside of the amazing gift of a savior coming to earth to forgive us of our sins) are a) putting up our Christmas village, which has been my job since I was about 9 or 10 and b) finding the perfect Christmas presents for everyone. In fact, I just wrote a post on the perfect gifts for someone who is gluten-free. I'd love for you to come check it out. http://fearfultofearlessblog.com/5-best-gluten-free-gifts/

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  27. What a beautiful post - considering how God, too, created and 'decorated' us and His creation! I am so glad I visited and was blessed by your beautiful thoughts and verses on healing, too. Blessings and beauty to you this Christmas!

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  28. Hi Sharon! I absolutely loved this post today as I was visiting from #livefreeThursday. I chuckled as I read the part about your love of real trees and a reluctance to go with a "fake" tree. We went through the same process a few years ago. The parallel of how the Lord decorated and gazed upon His creation and saw it was good with our decorating is one I had not made and adds joy to the fondness I have for decorating. So glad you were next door for me to get acquainted! I'll be back!!! Your tree looks lovely and the scene out the window reminds me of some of our favorite vacation spots! Christmas blessings!
    Pam

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  29. Yes, God waited until things were "just so." May we remember that in our own waitings too.

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  30. I'm with you on the gratification part of creating. It is a gift from God. It's amazing how the tree with lights lead us into contemplation of our Savior and the gift of eternal life. Love your thoughts here, Sharon. Makes feel more like Christmas.

    You're not alone in the fake tree department either. And I'd forgot all about the fake snow! People used to use it on their windows too... Hmmm. Thanks for jarring loose some old memories!

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  31. Thank you so much for sharing your excitement about Christmas. I love celebrating Christmas so I really enjoyed reading this post. Thank you for sharing your encouragement with us at Sitting Among Friends.

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  32. This year, I'm feeling a bit like you did last year. The first Christmas without dad, and some other family changes, we've decided a change of scenery might be good this year. I have a few decorations out, but no tree, since we won't be home and we always do a real tree for the "main" tree. I loved your post and your link to the creation story, Sharon. I'm so glad you're delighting in the season this year, my friend. Bless you.

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  33. WOW!! What a fun post!! I love decorating for Christmas, as well. There have been years that I've done more than others. This year, I am in the process of simplifying and cutting back a bit, just displaying my favorite items. Decor that I haven't used in a long time or just am not wanting anymore, I will give to Goodwill or some other donation site. Love how you expressed having the excitement of a child when you saw it all lit up...I'm sure that is exactly how God felt with His creation when it was complete!!

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  34. We bought a fake tree with built-in lights several years ago at an after-Christmas sale. Like you, I was surprised how beautiful and life-life it is. I'll be pulling it out this weekend. Merry Christmas!

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  35. You're right - it wouldn't be the same celebration without a tree and lights. We used an artificial tree for years. Now we're back to live and this year, I picked the tallest I could find :) Merry Christmas!

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  36. Amen. I too seem to have seen Christ more in my decorations this year than every before. It was my tree and ornaments that seemed to remind me of His faithfulness. For now...it is still the real tree and the smell. Merry Christmas

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  37. Oh, your tree is so pretty!!! Just beautiful! I guess we are feeling this year like you did last year....we did do some decorating, but not to the great extent that we usually do! To answer your question, (I just remembered that you had asked! Oh, my!), yes, that is our house on the picture in my blog that you asked about. But, it is actually a picture from last year or the year before!!! We didn't put out as many lights or as much decor this year...just so much going on and too much on our minds. But, we are SO thankful it is Christmas! God is so good! Have a very merry Christmas, dear friend. :)

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  38. I loved your perspective on this and comparing it to Creation. It is so much fun how Christmas brings out so many different traditions, decorations and trees but they are all beautiful. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week. Merry Christmas :)

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  39. We've had both over the years and while I love a real tree, Christmas is what you make of it. Whether simple or eloborate, it's all beautiful.

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"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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