As I was thinking about how I wanted to decorate for Christmas the other day, I was actually wondering if I could postpone until maybe next May. With all the issues of illness and complications to life, I really haven't been in a Christmassy mood. Despite the fact that Montana is definitely looking a lot like Christmas.
Then as I started thinking about the things that I like to do as tradition, I realized that some of these have gone out the door because the kids are no longer small children.
We used to go together and get a Christmas tree and then we'd set aside a night to decorate it. We'd have hot cocoa and music and laughter and sometimes arguments (not always perfect moments I guess), but it was a tradition I loved. Then as the children left home, it didn't seem the same.
We used to take long drives and look at Christmas lights or the snowy countryside.
Another tradition I liked was baking with my kids. We didn't get to do this every year as they got older, but I tried hard to keep it yearly when the girls were little. Especially to make sugar cookies and decorate them.
We had years when we went caroling at nursing homes and sledding as a family. All wonderful memories.
Did we have a perfect "Leave it to Beaver" "Ozzie and Harriet", "Walton's Mountain" family? No. We were never even a close contender. Our family was attacked by sickness and discouragement, financial woes and sinful mistakes. We had a great many problems and I could choose to dwell on that, but I'm not going to. It's easy to focus on the bad. The bad has a way of demanding to be recognized, while the good stands quietly to the side and waits to be acknowledged.
So this year, I'm starting a new tradition. It came to me as I was thinking about how I wanted to spend Christmas this year. I knew I wouldn't get to be surrounded by family, but then I rethought it. I can be surrounded by family in prayer for them.
So I decided to have a Prayer Tree.
On the center of our dining room table where we will see it day in and day out, I placed a little bright purple (just for Kim) metallic tree as a centerpiece. Next I bought ribboned tags that have wonderful words on them like - PEACE - JOY - CHEERY - GREETINGS - LOVE and as a name of a loved one comes to mind, we will write it on one of the tags and decorate the tree. Then when we see the tags, and the names, we will pray for those loved ones. Everyday we can add new folks as problems and praises arise, we can even add additional notes to the tags. I hope this tradition will take off across the country. We need to be a nation of prayer - a mighty praying people who stand in the gap for one another.
God Bless You!