Find the joy
November 28, 2011
by Jenni Sebora

I have to admit, I am like a little girl at holiday time. I love listening (well, and singing) to Christmas music. I can’t get the Christmas trees up too soon. And I love decorating the trees a little differently each year, but of course, always hanging some of the same traditional ornaments that symbolize something about each member of my family.

Every year, my three children each pick one new ornament to adorn the tree. They add their signatures and the date to the bottom of the ornament to help keep a log of all the Christmases past. When my children are grown and on their own, with their own homes and Christmas trees, I hope to pass on all of their ornaments to them. They will have a wonderful start to decorate their own trees with memories of their childhoods entwined.

Stocking hanging is also part of the holiday traditions in our family. My sister-in-law handmade a stocking for each of my children, my husband, and I. Those remain as the official “stockings” in our family, and they mean so much more because they were made by her. My children would never miss a holiday hanging their stockings. (The contents in the stockings as the Christmas season progresses are also part of the long awaited ritual, as well). The kids love to look in their stockings to find that surprise.

Outdoor decorating cannot be missed either. Each year my husband chooses a few trees to light up. This year, we electrified the Frasier fir right in front of our home. We planted it the first year we built our house, and it has grown with our home. Frasier firs are slow growers, but all of a sudden, it seems it just spurted overnight and is now a full-fledged adult tree.

Just like our very own children. All of a sudden, they are grown too, right before our very eyes. Thus, this year we chose to light up our favorite tree, and it looks beautiful. When I look at it, it reminds me of how much my own children have sprouted and matured.

Many people dread the stores at the holidays. Not me. I love finding just the right gift for each person on my list. Like most everyone, our budget has tightened and our list has shortened, but the magic of finding something special for each unique loved one never goes away.

A central part of our holiday season is, of course, church. Starting with advent soup suppers right through our children’s church pageants, being in church makes me feel so good. Especially this time of year, in my little church, in my little town, knowing that everyone there is sharing the same hope of forgiveness and salvation, can’t help but make me smile. It really is what Christmas is about.

Remember as the holiday season is upon us, to find joy in it, like a little child.

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