Sunday, December 26, 2010

Visiting Blogger

Just kidding. I'm supposed to be a regular contributor here. I thought I'd stop by and wave hello since it's been so long since I've posted anything. I love reading my mom's updates and she does a great job, but I guess I should help her out every once in a while since we signed onto this together. :)

I enjoyed a lovely holiday season with my family. It was the best and smoothest we've ever had. The fact that I'm very pregnant probably has something to do with it, but I hope that there are some things that we've learned that will help future Christmas celebrations be as stress-free.

I had to show you the beautiful tower of treats we received in the mail. It was such a surprise. What is received in the mail is pretty predictable these days, so it was delightful. My sister, Joy, picked this out for us.

There were chocolate-covered cherries...

...nuts, chocolates, pears and apples. So much fun!!

My husband gave me one early gift. These three magazines are a collection of some of the best recipes from Cooks Illustrated Magazine. I really do love Cooks Illustrated. I don't get their magazine, but have tried a variety of their recipes. I didn't do a lot of entertaining or baking this year, but I used 5 recipes out of the entertaining book for my own family. Our Christmas dinner came almost exclusively from it. I was looking for something that was easy to do but still delicious and special for the holiday. We did: French Chicken in a Pot (a whole roast chicken cooked in a dutch oven with the lid on), Scoop and Bake Dinner Rolls (no rolling and cutting!), and Ultra-Creamy Mashed Potatoes. Everything was delicious. Only with Cooks Illustrated do I not worry about testing out recipes before an important meal. Their recipes always turn out. Hurray for my early Christmas gift!! It was a huge help.
The last item I'd like to share is just a personal success this year. Really, it is Christ working in me and I'm so thankful for the growth He has wrought. This is the first Christmas I've ever had where the traditions were truly an enhancement to the celebration of the Incarnation. In the past, the traditions have been more an end in themselves instead of means to the end of celebrating Christ's birth. When they are simply a means, then they are expendable. There's no major letdown over the things we couldn't squeeze in or that didn't work out this year. The traditions enhance the celebration, but they aren't the celebration themselves. Rolling out sugar cookies, stringing cranberries, reading Christmas stories, decorating and hanging lights, doing the Advent Calendar, watching some Christmas movies, making homemade gifts for each other and relatives, and sending out Christmas cards are great as long as they actually serve the purpose. I've always known this is how it should be, but this is the first year that it really was that way. It seemed that we were able to transmit that to the children as well. Every Christian parent wants to teach their children the true meaning of Christmas, but it eludes us as to how to make it seem more exciting than the gifts that are coming. This is the first year that it was so real for me that I was able to make it real in all that we did to celebrate. I'm sharing this because as we reached Christmas day this year, I was so GRATEFUL. It was so much more meaningful and the whole season was smooth and stressless. What a victory! This is a little overflow of the gratitude. :)

1 comment:

Jennie and Julie said...

Thank you for sharing that Julie. It just blessed my heart to hear you say you actually succeeded in making the celebration all about the actual reason we celebrate. It seems Christians all TALK about it, but it never quite happens that way. It feels so good to have a daughter that is seeking it out, and to have found it. It really is a blessing. Love Mom