Plus we always begin to re-evaluate our celebration as Christmas approaches to see how we are doing when it comes to making Christ the central theme of our celebration and if there are things we may want to change or add. A huge part of that evaluation for me over the last week or so has been thinking about our decorations. The boys were itching to begin decorating since our plans have had us out of town for Thanksgiving. We bought a new tree after Christmas last year, and I was eager to see what it really looked like (and how easy it would really be since it's prelit). There was also some urgency on my part because I had planned to make some ornaments to replace the ones that were falling apart, and you can only put that off for so long.
Most of the ornaments we use on our tree were made by me the first Christmas after Jonathan was born. The gingerbread men I had made the year before had all either been eaten by the hyper dog we had or were decapitated while hanging on the tree due to the intense humidity of the Gulf Coast. And we had begun to ponder what we wanted our celebrations to look like as Jonathan and any future children grew up. We didn't know a lot of specifics, but we did know that our idea of what Christmas celebration should look like is quite different from the displays put on by the world.
In the days and weeks before Christmas I studied my copy of Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper. It was such a timely book for our family and has been a huge asset in helping us to think through many of our family celebrations over the years. In the end, we decided to keep our tree since we already had one, and we both had good memories from growing up that centered around the annual decorating of the tree. But we did decide that our tree should be a reflection of the central theme of our celebration--Christ.
Now we seek out ornaments that will reflect Christ either directly or symbolically. A lot of our ornaments feature nativity scenes or elements of the nativity. Others are symbols for some facet of the person of Christ or for some part of his life. We've had to add new ornaments this year since some of the ones I made have fallen apart in the 6 years since. I'll share some of the new ones in the coming days, but here are some photos of the sort of things you might find on our tree.
Doves for the Prince of Peace
Sun of Righteousness, Light of the World
God so loved the world, creation
the love of Christ
a Cross, the ultimate symbol of why the nativity is so precious to believers
Obviously, most of our ornaments are homemade since it's difficult to find appropriate ones in the store. I have spotted a few in the last couple of days that may be fitting to add to our tree, but for the most part we've had to improvise. I'll be sharing more about how I made the ones I've been working on this year soon, but feel free to ask any questions you may have. I'd love to hear about your decorations, too!