It begins quietly as the green leaves of summer turn to auburn, amber and plum colors, then as the days go by and the leaves begin to fall around us like fiery rain we’re reminded that winter will soon be here. Not long after we start crunching the leaves under our feet and stoop to pick up a pretty leaf every few steps, the delicate and intricate handy-work of God comes out once again to bring us snowflakes.
Aside from the beauty God dresses the earth with, another reason I love this time of year is the shopping I can do. I don’t normally like shopping–at all. What I love though, is choosing gifts. I like the time set aside to think about each of the people I love. What would make them feel special, unique and thought-of? It really makes me happier to see them open gifts I’ve given them than to open gifts of my own. There’s something truly special about bringing joy to someone else. (I am SO excited about the gift my sisters, brother-in-law, and I just chose for our parents!)
I also will never get over the wonder of Christmas itself with its story of grace through baby Jesus, the pine-tree smell, twinkling lights strung across the split-rail fence around our house, giant wreath on our barn door, little wooden nativity set my grandparents gave my dad after their trip to Bethlehem, stockings hanging above the fireplace that my mom sewed many years ago, Aebleskiver we relish each Christmas Eve with maple syrup and apple butter, and the yearly watching of Fiddler on the Roof.
All of that is special but the biggest reason I like this time of year is because people who love each other can be re-united after weeks, months or sometimes years apart. It can be a time for growth and healing, if that’s needed or simply a time of warmth and laughter. I expect this Christmas will be my favorite so far because I appreciate and love my family more than I have before. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.
If you’re looking for a place to choose some Christmas gifts where your money will go to help Christian families living in persecution and poverty instead of so many other companies who financially support abortion and gay marriage, I recommend you check out Christian Freedom International. Their handcrafts are absolutely gorgeous! Around our house these gifts are always cherished.