Sunday, December 23, 2012

Symbolic Christmas Ornaments

Three years ago I wrote a post about our Christmas tree and some of what we refer to as our "special ornaments". Our special ornaments symbolize something of Christ. We have plenty of simple decorative ornaments, but pride of place goes to our special ones.
Our family tradition the night we decorate our tree is to eat cranberry oat bars and drink hot chocolate from the Polish tea set Nate's mother gave me. We read each scripture scroll as we put it on the tree, and we explain each symbolic ornament. It is such a joyful time to teach Suzy aspects of our faith.
We try to add at least one to our collection every year. If we find more than that, then yay!
We added these in 2010 and 2011. I don't remember which ornament is from which year, but it is possible that they are all from 2010. The year 2011 was a bit rough.

This is a dove with an olive branch in its beak. This reminds us of the story of Noah and God's providence of salvation and peace.

This translucent cross is to symbolize James 1:17: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

Here is another nativity, definitely with more gold and glitter than Joseph and Mary actually experienced on the night of Christ's birth.

Here is a porcelain heart with a dove in the center to represent the Holy Spirit in believers' hearts.

This is a little song bird made from paper printed with the lyrics of "O Come All Ye Faithful" to remind us to sing praises to God.

This year has brought a bumper crop of special ornaments.

This is to tell us of the joy in Christ. And it has birds. I have a lot of birds on my tree, sort of an unintended side theme to my decor.

This ornament is extra special to me. This autumn I was in a women's bible study, and we read the verses Heb. 6:19-20 "We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
I loved it so much that I searched for an anchor ornament. I found a rather cheesy glass one wrapped in mini Christmas lights. That was a no. Then in the home decor section of Hobby Lobby, I found this anchor. It was a robe hook, but the hook was easily removed. I was going to spray paint it gold to match my other ornaments, but Nate made a good case for leaving it like it is. It does have a good, ancient, well-used look to it, doesn't it?

This ornament was an serendipitous addition. I received it at our church's ladies' ornament exchange party. It was a trifecta: gold, the word hope, and a bird. Perfect.

This is a fitting one to end this post on. It was made by my pastor's wife. It is a sycamore leaf from the tree in front of the church. This is to symbolize our new home and to remind us to be thankful of all the ways and places the Lord has led us.
I hope you have a joyful celebration of Christ this Christmas! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Preparing for Christmas

Leading up to Christmas I go into a crafting frenzy. I bunker down. I post signs like this on my craft room door:

It's made all the more frantic because I don't finish the projects in order. I start one. I start another. And another. And another. Then I go back and work a bit on this one and that one, with the pace and desperation increasing as the days get closer to Christmas.
My list of projects and their level of completeness:
1. Crocheted doll afghan with matching pillows - 95%
2. Wooden doll bed with sheets and mattress- 5%. All I have accomplished with that is buying the fabric and arranging to have the bed made, which I will then paint.
3. Two dresses for Suzy - One halfway done, one not started.
4. Regency style doll dress - not started.
5. Doll food made of salt dough (tea party foods and breakfast foods) 80%. Maybe 70. Most pieces painted, only one sealed.
6. 12 Scripture scroll ornaments - 20%
7. 8 floral felt hair bows for Suzy's friends at church- finished.
8. 5 dress-up mustaches for their brothers - not started.
9. Hat and glove set - finished.
10. Decorative box to hold play food- not started.
11. Three dozen treat bags of peppermint fudge for the Christmas cookie boxes for the church shut-ins - not started.
12. Advent calendar - finished, but only for twelve days. Maybe I will add more next year.
11. Four cups of pretend soda for dolls - 75%.
13. Make an anchor ornament with Hebrews 6:19-20 on it - 50%. I bought an anchor shaped towel hook and removed the hook. Just have to put the scripture on it.

If you noticed, there are only three things finished. They are relatively small projects, but still. It's a start. Here they are, sixteen days before Christmas, all I have accomplished.

The hat and glove set, worthy of Fancy Nancy:

My Twelve Days of Christmas Advent Calendar, made entirely of odds and ends from the closet:

And the felt floral hair bows, thanks to my mother who supplied me with die-cut felt flowers:

So there it is.
This past week Suzy had a pretty terrible case of tonsillitis. She was a poor sickly baby and I didn't have much time for projects, so I'm a little behind schedule. So the next week is crazy - catching up on school, candy making, sewing, painting, and lots of coffee.
Every year at this time I regret not beginning to plan in June. And every year Nate has to calm me down and remind me of the reason we celebrate. He does a good job. Though he should probably start that in June too.
That's the reason I want to add an ornament with Hebrews 6:19-20 to my tree.
Heb. 6:19-20 "We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
Before I disappear back into my pit of procrastination craft room, I want to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a joyful celebration of Christ our hope.