Sunday, December 1, 2013

CHRISTMAS: REFOCUSED AND SIMPLIFIED

Christmas.
It hasn't looked the same since Miles came into our lives.
And this year, I can say that with a grateful heart.

I spent the last few years so discouraged and secretly felt sorry for myself.
I had an attic full of Christmas decorations but couldn't put them up because Miles couldn't handle it.  

We tried the first year he was home.  It was bad.
The tree and decorations were such a source of stress.
It all went up and came down in a matter of weeks.

We struggled with Miles so much the next year that we didn't even bother.
No decorations.
None.

Last year, Miles was making progress so we decided to put up the tree.
A pre-lit tree with burlap ribbon and a paper sack star.
Nothing breakable.  Nothing exciting.
I even put it in the dining room to keep it out of Miles' everyday space.

The tree survived.
We survived.

For Miles to one day understand the true meaning of Christmas, I can't confuse him.
I want to help Miles make the connection that Christmas is Jesus.

Not Santa.  Not elves.  Not shopping.  Not being good/bad, naughty/nice.

God has a unique way of using Miles' gift of Autism to point me directly to Jesus.
Miles has trouble understanding what is being spoken to him and has difficulty using spoken language.  We teach him all kinds of things without knowing what will stick.
So when it comes to Christmas, if I get to choose what will stick, I choose Jesus.
Santa is just not a risk I'm willing to take.

Helping Miles understand the meaning of Christmas has forced our family to refocus and simplify our Christmas.  The act of simplifying has forced me to think about the story I want our home to tell.  What message I want our Christmas decorations to convey.

Being intentional about decorating for Christmas has been such a sweet gift.
I never want to celebrate or think about the way we did Christmas before Miles.

We have refocused.
We have simplified.

Our Advent candles are out, ready to light each Sunday leading up to Christmas as we focus on the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love of Jesus.  As we anticipate the Coming.
We will light our center candle on Christmas morning as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The Light of the world!


Our Nativity is on display as a constant reminder to slow down and wait for the coming of Christ.   To slow down so we don't miss His still small voice.  It is also a beautiful reminder that God uses normal, everyday people to fulfill His purpose and plan.  If you are willing, He wants to use you.  He is known for using the lowly, the outcast, the adulterer, the murderer, the nobody.
  

Our Stockings are hung to remind us that Christmas is about giving.  God gave us the gift of His Son -the Word, as John called Him.  We will give the gift of blessings, of scripture, of thanksgiving, of words.  On a note card, we will write a word of encouragement to each member of the family everyday until Christmas Eve and place it in their stocking.  The cards will be bundled up, tied with ribbon and placed back in each stocking as a gift, a reminder that words have the ability to speak life into people, just as the Word (Christ) brings abundant life. 


Our Jesse Tree (formally known as our Christmas tree) will forever be simply decorated with a star, leading us to Jesus.  Our homemade ornaments will be added each day from December 1st-25th as we focus on the scarlet thread of redemption that is woven through scripture and points straight to Jesus.  This year, we are going through the book, The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp.  It is absolutely beautiful and speaks to where God has me for this season.


"I don't want a Christmas you can buy.
I don't want a Christmas you can make.
What I want is a Christmas that holds me, remakes me, revives me.
I want a Christmas that whispers, Jesus."
{Ann Voskamp}

What unspoken message do your Christmas decorations and traditions convey?
What is the story they are telling?

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