Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year

This has been such a perfectly wonderful holiday weekend. We set up our Christmas tree on Thursday morning and, after enjoying a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with my mom, her fiance, and his adult daughters, spent the rest of the day (and most of the evening!) decorating it. It seems to me more beautiful with each Christmas, and my very favorite part of it this year is the gorgeous nativity set we found on sale at Hobby Lobby to display beneath its branches.

We'll add the infant Jesus on Christmas morning, when we sing "Happy Birthday" to Him before opening gifts. My kids are so excited this year and are really getting into the spirit of the season. Dylan has developed a reverent obsession with nativities, and when he saw a set of miniature figures while shopping at Hobby Lobby, he begged us to buy them for him and then asked Darren to help him build a stable. Darren, of course, was more than happy to oblige, and their shared project was truly a labor of love. They spent most of yesterday out in the garage, measuring, sawing, gluing, drilling...I think St. Joseph would be proud!

Their finished product is amazing! Dylan is so very proud to have it on display in his bedroom. Immediately upon awakening this morning, he was asking if he could "play" with it, which for him entails detailed scenarios and conversations among the "characters". I love it. I love that he loves it. I love that my husband is such an incredible Daddy!

This year we'll also be making a Jesse Tree for the first time. I've never made one, I've never even actually seen one, but I really love the concept of them and I think it will be a project that our whole family will be able to enjoy together. I had pretty much decided on this kit from Emmanuel Books, but then, while we were shopping at Hobby Lobby a few nights ago, I just happened to find some really cute wooden ornaments that I think will work very well. I also bought some colorful foam sheets from which we can cut any other symbols we need. I wasn't entirely sure what to do with the things we got, but I found an excellent set of instructions at Catholic Culture that we'll use, reading the corresponding scripture verses directly from our bible. (I also came across these instructions at another site, which suggests additional symbols that we may also incorporate.) And I'm really, really hoping that the beautiful, fragrant, potted rosemary we have will work as our tree!

And so we begin this Christmas season. It is such a joy to celebrate the miracle of our Savior's birth with my children, to see it all through their eyes, to remember all the traditions I so loved as a child and bring them to new life with my own kids, adding new ones as we grow.


He who wears the most black wins. said...

Oh my gosh, Melissa. I loved reading all of this. How wonderful! I love Dylan's excitement and Darren's willingness to indulge ( even though there is absolutely no doubt he LOVED being asked to do this totally awesome thing with his son!)

What beautiful traditions.

Mom to Almost Four said...

How exciting! I love the handmade creche. So wonderful! Those are the things that the kids will remember so vividly as they grow.

Lots of love and many blessings!

Anonymous said...

I really like the creche under the tree. I've been searching for one to replace our hand-me-down one.

Have fun with that Jesse Tree project! I love it.

Alice said...

Wow, that is some incredible Nativity project, and I love all your other ideas as well!

Jill said...

Awesome nativity project. Love it!! I'm just catching up on your blog after being gone for Thanksgiving. The pictures of your three sweeties are SO PRECIOUS. That first one of all three of them should be your Christmas photo. Kids in makes me feel cozy just looking at it.


Amy Parris said...

I can't wait to get mine out. We did the Jesse Tree with our prayer group on year. We told the kids the story behind each symbol and then gave them some modeling clay and let them make the symbols of their choice. Ours still hang on our tree every year.

Jennifer said...

You looks so prepared! I love your wooden ornaments and Nativity set. I also get a good laugh out of the conversations the shepherds have with the angels in our house. "Would you like to draw some pictures?" :)