Keeping Christmas

This was actually a post I had planned for the day after Christmas, but I had some technical difficulties and couldn’t get it posted. So as we look into the new year, here is a few thoughts I’ve had.

What exactly does it mean to “keep the Christmas spirit?”

I hate when Christmas is over. I get the Christmas blues every year. There’s all of this fun and exciting build-up—playing Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, getting and decorating the tree, pulling out all of your favorite decorations from storage, and making your house into a winter wonderland. Finding just the right gift for the ones you love, lighting the Advent wreath, preparing to celebrate the birth of our King! There’s all this build-up, and Christmas Eve comes and the magic is palpable, then Christmas morning is finally here and the festivities of the day begins! Then in the blink of an eye, it’s all over. The lights come down, the wrapping paper gets picked up, the family goes home, and once again, your heart waits for the next Christmas to come.

So my question to you is, how do we keep that Christmas spirit all year long? How do we keep excited and passionate about giving to others, our appreciation for the small things, our waiting for the King?

This year it seems like it went even faster than usual, and I’ve found myself stuck with this question. I want to keep the fulfillment that Christmas gives me in my heart all-year round.

My mind keeps going to Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart does good, like medicine.” Surely part of the key of keeping Christmas, is keeping a merry heart. But that’s sometimes easier said than done. You get cut-off in traffic, your boss is on you about this or that, your day just doesn’t go “as planned”—it’s hard to keep that merry heart in difficult times.

So I’ve been thinking of how to keep a heart for Christmas all year-round, and this is what I’ve come up with:

  • Immerse yourself in scripture

I’m one of those people that always likes to know more. I want to know facts and details. I used to love Paul Harvey, “and now you know, the rest of the story.” One thing I’ve thoroughly enjoyed is the “subtext” in my Bible. For most verses there’s a footer at the bottom telling details about what the scripture might be pertaining to in that time, going into further explanation of the verse. I think one way to keep a fulfilled heart is to read scripture everyday, and for me, dig even a little deeper to find what the scriptures are actually saying.

  • Prayer

I guess you could say this goes hand-in-hand with reading scripture, but I find when I start and end my day with prayer, I keep a more mindful heart (and mouth for that matter) and reflect more upon the happenings of my day-to-day.

  • Continue to Give

Now, don’t get me wrong , I’m not saying buy gifts for everyone you know or love all year long, but have a giving heart. Maybe that means giving your time to someone to listen, maybe it’s giving someone a helping hand at the grocery store, and maybe it means to simply give–whether it be to your church, someone in need, the homeless, or something else entirely, but don’t let the Christmas season be the only time you “give” during the year.

  • A Christmas Reminder

I challenge you to keep one small Christmas decoration/ornament out in a place where you’ll see it everyday to remind you of the joy and peace that comes with Christmas. The picture above is a candle One Cute Cowboy got me our 2nd Christmas together, and I plan on keeping it out even after I put my other decorations up, to remind me to keep the spirit of Christmas in my heart all year long.

I hope you had a beautiful, joyful Christmas and pray for many blessings to all of you through the new year!

Happy New Year!

*ASpottedHeart

Christmas Tree Hunt:Year 4

I’ve shared before that one of Riley’s Christmas traditions has always been to go find and cut down your own Christmas tree. It’s always a pretty big adventure.

This year was a little different, since I’m packing around a little bear in my belly, we decided maybe we wouldn’t do quite as much hiking as usual, and take the 4-wheeler so it’s a little easier to haul the tree back to he pickup. We went up to our usual spot in New Mexico, and hopped on the 4-wheeler. We drove around and down through a few groves, then decided we’d walk a little bit and try to find the perfect tree.

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband has Clark Griswold Syndrome-he wants the biggest tree he can find. This is the one he originally wanted this year! Haha!

We look through loads of trees. You have to keep certain things in mind when looking for just the right tree. Is there a good sturdy base? Does it have a good top for our vintage Shiny Brite topper? Is it too robust for our home? Is it too tall for our house? How many branches will we have to remove from the bottom to make it stand up in the stand right? Will it still look full if we remove said branches? A lot of thinking goes into it. Seems like we always end up picking one that’s too big (round) but it’s so hard when they look so pretty out in the pasture.

This Christmas we chose this fat & jolly guy-just how we like ’em! He was a little hard to get on the 4-wheeler, trying not to run over everything in our path, but we eventually made it back to the pickup unscathed.

He is *ahem* a little big for our house, but we both agree this has been our best tree yet! He’s beautiful! Perfect base, perfect top, really full and lush.

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I love ornaments, and how we’ve collected so many in our short 4 years together. Every one of them is meaningful it seems. I’ll share a few with you.

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do  know this is the first one from our first Christmas together. It’s a Brighton silver, reindeer. Still one of my favorites and most elegant ornaments.

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This is one from when One Cute Cowboy was just a little guy. It’s so cute, and a Hallmark Classic.

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This one is special not only because it represents the true meaning of Christmas, but my dad’s side of the family did an ornament exchange for a few years, and this is one I got that my Grandma had put in the exchange. It is, for so many reasons, one of my favorites.

 

What are some of your family’s Christmas traditions? Do you have a favorite ornament that hangs on your tree each year? I’d love to see them!! Leave me a picture in the comments or e-mail me a picture of your ornament at aspottedheart@gmail.com. I’ll put your name in a hat and draw a winner next Tuesday, the 19th,  for a surprise ornament I’ll send right to your door*! Happy Tree Trimming!

*ASpottedHeart

 

 

Previous Christmas Posts:

 

*Must live in the U.S. for valid entry for the surprise ornament.