Do you remember the excitement you felt, the first days after having a baby? It lasts for quite a while. It’s not just birth day, then done. The celebration, the joy, the settling in of this new season in your lives happens over the course of weeks or months, not one day. Christmas is like that to me. I like being able to reflect and enjoy the season. I don’t want it to feel like a big bang, then done. For me, the big bang is just the beginning. The 12 days of Christmas start on Christmas Day. These days are my favorite because the preparation is done, but the celebration goes on.

So, even though I’ve started my Christmas crafting already, I’m holding off on listening to Christmas music. I am very tempted because I look forward to it every year, but I’m not going to listen to the radio station that starts playing the music this month, and I’m not going to tee up my iTunes Christmas collection. We aren’t putting up a tree or getting out the Christmas books. The nativity set will stay in the basement. Until November 27, the first Sunday of Advent. You see, I love the feel of our home when it is filled with the decorations, smells, and sounds of Christmas, and I want it to still feel special when Christmas gets here. If we start with all that stuff this early, we’re tired of it by Christmas and we spend Christmas Day thinking about the chore of taking everything down because we’ve already had enough Christmas for the year. I don’t want Christmas Day to feel like the end of anything.

nativity

My favorite part of the 12 days of Christmas is the nativity scene in our house. The set itself isn’t that great, it’s pieced together from flea market finds, a happy meal toy and part of a Sunday school project. One of the kings is broken, so I pushed him into a melted pillar candle so he can stand upright. Maybe someday I’ll make or find a nativity set that I really love. What I do love is what it represents. The baby and the kings are kept in a drawer during Advent. On Christmas Day, the baby is added to the manger. The three kings start on the other side of the room and make their way, day by day, closer to the manger. It takes them 12 days. It’s such a simple thing, and not much work, but it is such a sweet reminder, one that I need every year. I hope my children will grow up loving this as much as I do. You know how you try to take the best things from your childhood and give them to your own children? This is one of those things for me. Thanks Mom and Dad.

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