Saturday, November 28, 2009

Transition to Christmas

5:26 p.m. Today's project is to take down all of the fall/Thanksgiving decorations and replace them with the Christmas theme I wait all year for, every year!
It seems funny that all of my warmth-evoking fall items, with the exception of the ivory table runner, fit so easily into one laundry basket, and then onto a shelf in the linen closet upstairs. The cloudy raininess today even seemed to signal a transition to the cool, bright, event-saturated Christmas season.
The guest bathroom downstairs is the first to be decorated, so I ran a quick washload of hand- and full-sized Christmas towels and a truly gaudy bauble-splashed shower curtain to take out the storage creases. Even the hanging clips are bells, snownmen, trees and a Santa or two. I set up the handcarved Merry Christmas-lettered wooden table plaque, a gift from a student 15 years ago when I taught at Grace Christian School. Four Christmas-themed pillows now grace our ivory-colored couches, an angel and a manger scene on one couch, snowmen and trees on the other, in blue tones that coordinate with the berber carpet.
JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON, declares the wooden hanger now on the front door. We will probably wait to plug in the lit animated angel on the front porch until after we've brought our tree into the house next Wednesday. Our tree will be a bit shorter this year, because Steven is no longer at home this year to help carry it in. Kriss is planning to help his dad this time, because he has a day off Wednesday the 1st. Not only does Steve need help with the lifting and setup of a 10 foot tree, but gentle assistance in taking logical steps is needed. Remembering how he set up lighting for 21 years in our current house is more of a strain now with his Alzheimer's and gets frustrating for him, but I remind Steve that we're working together, and we can have the kids help us as well.
We are now looking for the dark-stained bread dough manger set, one as old as my daughter Heather, but still impressive, though the wood manger covering broke long ago. The three wise men weren't present at Jesus' birth, I know, but the traditional creche scenario is too ingrained for any changes now!
Stocking holders are next to be set up, while Steve hunts for the extension cords that will make the lighting work. And let's not forget the transformation of the hutch into a holiday village with the snowy white batting and musical buildings! Every year I wonder, "do we do this each time?" (And I push to the back of my mind the dreary January takedown of this Christmas wonderland!)
In our family, we have no doubt Whom we are celebrating, and Jesus is the centerpiece of all activities. Numerous manger scenes are displayed around the house, including ones that stay up all year. One of my fondest memories is the way our little ones would snatch the tiny "Baby Jesus" out of one very old manger set to sleep with! Each morning, I'd track the inch-long infant doll down, gently scold the child, and put it back in its "straw" bed. The next night, it would disappear again! With 5 young children, the competition became pretty active. Our children learned to love Jesus at an early age, knew their Bible stories, and accepted the Lord as their Savior during their elementary years.
We very much enjoy the fun of handcrafted decorations, ornaments and handmade heirloom pieces from our families. Sending cards, baking, hosting parties, attending events at church and in our city make for some wonderful memories. And the music of Christmas is the best of the entire year! I love the way Ephesians 5:18-19 tells Christians to party: "Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
And that's how we roll here at the Kruckenbergs'!

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