However I wanted to share some new traditions and some that we that we have done in the past. One simple act of love is to nature that surrounds us. It can be as simple as creating a wreath seeds to show that you care and cherish the beauty of the animals that God has created for us. When I watch the chickadees from our kitchen window, I am reminded that God ensures that the birds and animals will be provided for. And so He will surely provide all our needs as well. That is love. And that gives me peace.
If you truly know me, you know that my love language is to "do" for others. I show my love by homemaking, cooking and other things I do for my family and friends - acts of love. This year I stumbled across this tradition (of making it yourself)..... I hope I can incorporate in our festivities every year. We have begun to gather the items that we will use to fill, what will be our first attempt at Christmas crackers this year. There was a good chance that I wouldn't be able to make them the way I had hoped. I wanted to add the "Christmas snaps" to them. Essentially it's the little piece of paper that you pull that makes the "POP" sound. I found it on the internet.. but I soon realized that if I ordered the item and had it shipped to my home it would have been very expensive. I was bummed out.... as I wanted my act of love to my family to be the way I had pictured it. But as I write this, I am reminded that I was the recipient of an act of kindness that I am certain brought joy to this person! I told a friend that I had found them.. but they would be too costly to ship... well without my knowing, they had gone ahead and purchase them and had them shipped to where the cost was very minimal. They then called me and told me that they ordered a bundle for me! Wow! Some might think this example is trivial. But its worth is far more than just Christmas crackers. Its about putting others first, lending a helping hand. An act of kindness! An act to love, to show that even in the small details that you care about - it is important to others as well. Thank you!
This year Ava and I delivered plants to shut-ins and paid them a short visit. People from our congregation that have lost a loved one over this past year, or are physically unable to frequently leave their homes. This is a simple act of love goes far beyond a plant or visit, it is an act to show that these men and women are cared for and not forgotten. And in this day that we think that a quick phone call or a simple email or note to say "hi" goes un-noticed or not cared for - is I believe untrue and probably just what the person needed that day. Surely we would all love this tender act of love to be blessed upon us.
Plans are well underway to open our home to guests, this is an act of joy and love that is so precious to me and my family. To open up your personal space can be difficult for some, for various reasons. Over ten years ago when we bought our first home, there were many times that we found it difficult to have groups of people over due to the size or condition of our home. We thought it wasn't good enough, or too crowded. But I can assure you, it really doesn't matter on the "condition" of your home, what does matter to us is to show those around us that we care. And that we want to invest our time in their lives and families. Even now that we have moved into our second home, and it is considerably larger than our first (although our family is considerable larger now as well). It's not always pleasant when our children are having melt downs or juice is being split.. but you know what.. this our family. Every member is unique and brings that special piece that makes us - us. Take it or leave it! But please take it -- because we love friends and family to share our home. :)
One year for Christmas we purchased each guest that we were entertaining for Christmas dinner an animal from World Vision. I created little name place cards printed with the type of animal we bought in their name and placed them on each setting. We decided again this year that this was the perfect gift for some of our family members. Pure peace - giving to World Vision, knowing that my Lord and Savior looks down and smiles when He witnesses an act of compassion to those who can not help themselves. We are living by example to the next generation (our children), that we are called to love on those that need it. Be God's hands and feet, even if love is a fruit tree or warm blanket.
Jesus didn't pour His love on the "easy" people. He loved the tax collector or the Samaritan women at the well. As Christians we are called to be light in this world. To bring joy, love and peace. Is that always easy? Nope. We are flawed. I am flawed. I have bad days. I can allow the worlds negativity to seep into me... and then I turn around and pass it on. We are also called to especially love and cherish our brothers and sisters in Christ. Is that always easy? Nope. Not for me. But I try. I try really hard.
During this special season, we celebrate that the Lord came down to live a life (a short life) on this earth. To experience first hand what we would face: joy, pain, sorrow, peace, love and so many other emotions. I have truly enjoyed the simple acts of love, joy and peace that I have experienced over this Christmas Season and over the past 2012 year. It's not always easy to find these components of the fruits of the spirit in my life. But I try, everyday, very earnestly. And for now, that's all I can say.
Merry Love, Joy and Peace this Christmas