Advent ~ Christmas Wreath

Advent ~ Christmas Wreath
Today’s ornament is a Christmas Wreath made from colored beads, and was made by a friend and given to me as a gift. Wreaths are some of my favorite adornments for Christmas.
Just a reminder that the Christmas wreath was used to represent Christ. It had a circular shape with no beginning or end, which represented eternity or our life never-ending because we have heaven. It is also used with the three advent candles with the middle candle lit on Christmas Eve to represent the arrival of Jesus, the Light of the World.
Light of the world you came down into darkness, open my eyes let me see.
Until next time…
JoAnn
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Advent ~ The Star

Advent ~ The Star
 
This is an ornament that tops the tree. Our tree was too little this year, but I have it next to the tree just so I can still enjoy it! I love its reflection on the ceiling and its changing reflection. Brings me back to the star and its part in the Christmas story. It reminds me to look up. See the star.
 
You know there was a star over where Jesus was born that inspired the
wise men to follow the star to the baby. God led them then, and He leads us today. I think about this every time we have a clear night to see the stars. They are so beautiful! And to think they were brave enough to follow it because they felt the leading to do it. Today, don’t take the beauty of the stars for granted…enjoy those night skies we have to look at. Many are not free to see them.
 
I’m following the Star, not just during the Christmas time, but everyday He gives me breath!
 
For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

Advent ~ Homemade Treasures

Advent ~ Homemade Treasure 
 
This ornament is a true treasure. Not only was it made by a very special man, but that man was the uncle to a very special friend. That friend shared this ornament with me. I’m nostalgic like that. Many items in my home have special meaning that is triggered by the memories attached to the item I have. The fact that this is homemade makes me happy. This ornament would have to be around 50 years old.
 
Let what is around you feed your soul today and quiet your spirit. Every time I see this ornament, I think of the hands that made it and the hands that shared it. And…I am very grateful for both.
 
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart…down in my heart to stay.

Advent ~ Stockings

Advent ~ Stockings
 
How many of you grew up with stockings hanging on the fireplace or wall or someplace that was available? I did. The presents were opened on Christmas Eve, and the stockings were opened on Christmas Morning at my house. It was exciting to see what goodies could be fit into the stocking! Our stockings were surprisingly filled and left for us while we slept. What fun to get into those! Some times it was a small toy and fruit and nuts. Not like today where the stocking filers can be as expensive as the gifts. I did that for my kids growing up with small items they could use. However, I haven’t done them for years. The “small things” have gotten pretty expensive.
 
I have always felt that it is the thought behind the giving that counts most. I can’t see spending so much money on gifts at Christmas, that I am in debt after Christmas. That’s not how it is meant to be…trying to outdo someone. I don’t want my kids to feel the need to do that either. I am happy that we can be together. That’s my gift.
 
This year, I have went back to that type of giving. Things that have meaning to them, and some things I made. I want to share with them that I know they will like, but makes it fun for me, not stressful. Home made gifts or special treasures. Even sharing with them something that they may not get until “later” is fun for me! I like to see them receive it. THAT is what Christmas is about.
 
So now I have shared my kids’ stockings with them, except for one. So they can hang them for decorations or a keepsake. But in my house, the stocking reminds me to stick with what counts most…being together and sharing a meaningful gift. Keep it simple.
 
All the stockings were hung by the chimney with care…
Until next time…
JoAnn

Advent ~ Friends

Advent ~ Friends
 
This ornament hangs on my tree because of a friend that shared it with me as a Christmas Gift. I love it for many reasons…its red, it reflects wonderful light, and it is LeCreuset, which I love cooking with, and also because of the thoughtfulness of the gift. But most of all, I love it because it is from a very dear friend.
 
Friends are important to me. Because of that, I try to be the best friend I can back to them. This ornament reminds me that this time of year is a time to be grateful for all God has given to me, and friends and family are tops on my list! My friends have seen me through a LOT! I also have been with them through a LOT! What a blessing and treasure it is to have them in my life! So… when I see something on my tree that they have shared with me, or I use something they have given me, my heart is full. Every. Time.
 
Remember your friends at Christmas. A special hand written note to tell them how much you appreciate them. A phone call if you haven’t talked in a while. We never know where they are at in their life. It may look fine from the outside, but there may be some real tough stuff going on in the inside. Your note, or call, or cookies, or visit, may be just what they need to lift their spirit. God is timely like that… He will bring them to mind. Don’t just say, “Yes I should….”. Do the thing! It’s the time of giving…giving of yourself is FREE!
 
Lean on me, when I’m not strong. I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on. (It isn’t a hymn or chorus, but perfect just the same).
Until next time…
JoAnn

Advent ~ Cozy Warmth

Advent ~ Cozy Warmth
 
Remember those younger days when winter came to visit and it got very cold to play outside? The first thing my mom would say if I wanted to go outside was, “You better put something on your hands so you stay warm.” Maybe you are saying that same thing now to your children or grandchildren. My family didn’t have a whole lot when I was young and so sometimes that “something warm” on my hands was my dad’s wool work socks; maybe two pair! But it worked for quite a while. If we got mittens at some point, they were a gift, and they were also handed down to the child below us when we outgrew them. Share and share alike, you know. Pass down the blessing. 😉
 
This ornament reminds me of those times. It represents warmth to me; not just for my hands, but the warmth of our homes; lights and candles, the warm in our hearts as we share time together. At my house as a child, it was also music. My dad would take out his harmonica and play a few Christmas songs. I remember feelings proud that my dad could play all sizes of harmonicas. He even had a mini that he could play! Blessed times.
 
It’s not about how fancy everything is. Think about it…the wisemen came and shared time with baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in a stable with animals around them. I doubt they smelled the stable smells…they were into the moment…seeing the Christ Child they had heard so much about. Excited to see the scripture fulfilled. And then… offering their best gifts.
 
Keep the season simple and share the warmth of your home and heart. That is what is most important…your warm, cozy home and heart.  Enjoy the sweet soft lights of Christmas!
 
Come home, come home! Ye who are weary come home…
Until next time…
JoAnn