Posted by: Tricia | December 12, 2008

Prepare Him Room

For some reason David and I were feeling lazy about wanting to decorate for Christmas this year.  Now that Elliott is a curious toddler, decorating the house seems like a scary undertaking that could result in an injured child and two frustrated parents.  We debated and debated about what to do…Should we even put up a tree?  What about a smaller tree?  Artificial or real?  Maybe we should just hang the stockings?  Do we want to bother with outside lights? Finally, decisions were made!

But first…

I thought I would also include some of the meanings of the symbols of Christmas taken from material I received at our church’s Fall Womens’ Retreat last year.  I hope and pray that David and I will be able to clear the smoke screen of what Christmas has become in our world today and teach Elliott why this season of advent…not just December 25…is so essential to who we are as Christians.

And now…

Here’s a little peek into the Welch house as it looks this advent season.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…we  decided to embellish the mantle with garland as we always do.  Elliott hasn’t even attempted to pull it down!

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Stockings

Oral tradition holds that St. Nicholas was revered for his generous, anonymous giving to the poor.  The most well known account is of Nicholas’ midnight ascent upon the roof of a poor family who was soon to have to sell their three daughters into slavery because there was no money for their dowry.  Nicholas secretly dropped gold coins down the chimney, which landed in the girls’ stockings, which were hanging by the fire to dry.  This money ransomed the girls from slavery and possible death.  St. Nicholas portrays Christ in three ways; 1.  He gave to those who were undeserving 2.  He gave to those who could not repay 3.  His gift rescued them from slavery and debt.

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A few years ago I saw some birdhouses like these in a magazine and I asked my grandpa if he could make some for me.  Within a week I received my very own set of adorable birdhouses in the mail!  And, best of all, they were handmade by my Grandpa with love.

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Aren’t they cute??  This year I decided to put them on top of the armoire in the living room.  I also added the cranberry garland and the cute birds to warm it up a bit.

birdhouses

Maverick’s stocking hangs on the armoire.  Stacey inspired me to stitch his name on his stocking this year.  It’s far from perfect, but I think it turned out pretty good!

stocking

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Growing up, my favorite Christmas decoration in our house was the painted clay nativity set that my mom crafted by hand while she was in college.  Even though the pieces were fragile, my mom never hesitated to let me be the one to carefully arrange them on the table.  It was, and still is, very special to me. When David and I got married I longed to have a nativity set of my own, but all of the nativity sets that I ran across in the store could not even compare to my mom’s handiwork.  Then I saw the Willow Tree nativity set in the hospital gift shop…it was absolutely beautiful…and way too expensive!  So, imagine my surprise when my mom gifted me with it last Christmas!  I L-O-V-E my nativity set and it will be something I treasure forever!  Thanks, Mom!  The only complaint that I have about my prized nativity set is that there is no manger (see the note below for the symbolism of the manger).  It is on display in the dining room, and Elliott is constantly asking to be picked up so that he can look at it.  He smiles so big when we talk about the sheep, the cows, and especially baby Jesus.   Maybe next year I can continue the tradition of letting him help set it up…even though it is fragile and precious to me.

nativity

Manger

The manger represents the human heart.  Just as there was “no room” for Mary and Joseph in the inn, we too can be so busy that we have no room for Jesus in our lives.  This Christmas, slow down and prepare him room in your “manger”.

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These jingle bells were my Grandma’s.  She didn’t need them anymore and I was happy to take them off of her hands!  They are also a big hit with Elliott!  Every time he jingles them it makes me want to sing Jingle Bells…so I do, and he bounces up and down to the beat!

bells

Bells

The church has used bells throughout the centuries to spread news of victory, death, and celebration.  God leaving Heaven and coming to earth as man combines all three.  The Incarnation began our ultimate victory over death.  This is cause for great celebration!

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And, of course, the decorating wouldn’t be complete without the tree.  We debated back and forth about whether or not to get a big living tree this year…or even get a tree at all.  David and I both grew up with artificial trees in our homes, always wishing that we had real trees.  So, every year of our marriage, except the first, we have gotten a living tree.  We worried that we wouldn’t be able to leave Elliott out of our sight with a big tree.  The lights and the shiny ornaments are definitely tempting to a curious toddler.  And, I also worried that our little “climber monkey” might try to climb up the tree.  So, after much thought and consideration, we decided to invest in a smaller artificial tree.  In the future you may see this little guy outside on our porch, but for now he looks really pretty sitting in our front window!  We set the tree up on a short table swaddled with fabric.  I was surprised that all of our ornaments, except for the generic Christmas balls, fit on our tiny tree.  David’s favorite thing about this year’s tree: it came pre-lit!  My favorite thing about this year’s tree:  no need to sweep up prickly pine needles two or three times a day!  Hooray for pre-lit artificial trees (sometimes, anyway)!!

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Christmas Tree and Greenery

Evergreens represent everlasting life in Christ.  We are eternally green, or alive, when we are in Christ.  Though our bodies will someday die, our spirits will live forever with Jesus, if we trust Him to save us.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

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Our little tree needed a little company, so I wrapped some gifts to put under it.  As expected, Elliott is fascinated by the tree…especially when I turn the lights on.  He loves looking at all of the ornaments and pointing them out to us.  We are working on teaching him the “one finger touch” so that he can stay out of “time-out” for taking the ornaments off of the tree!

tree

Gifts

Jesus, the Son of God, was given to us as a gift by God the Father.  Jesus is the Gift of Christmas.  As we give undeserved gifts to those we love at Christmas, we imitate God.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

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Our wreath…it’s nothing special, but the meaning behind it is.

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Wreath

The wreath, being circular, signifies that which is without end; life everlasting made possible by Jesus’ sinless life and shed blood.  We celebrate with wreaths at Christmas because Jesus wore the very first one, a crown of thorns.

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Decorating inside the house got us me in the mood to do lights outside.  We kept it simple and hung some lighted garland swags over the porch.  That didn’t take long, so I decided to wrap the tree in the front of the house with lights.  It’s hard to make out, but our Bethlehem star is hanging from the tree as well.

house

Candles/Lights

Jesus, The Light of the World, came at Christmas.  As believers in Christ, we now have His Light in us, and we are to “Let our lights shine before men so that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 —“Arise, shine; for your light has come…” Isaiah 60:1

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Responses

  1. Wow, what a beautiful post! I love the reminders of how each symbol of Christmas points to Jesus. Your house looks gorgeous…but even more so your hearts.

    Thank you for sharing all of that.

    On another note, I totally covet your nativity set. I decided this year that I’d like to start collecting pieces of the Willow tree set. It really is lovely.

    We love you guys!

  2. I love it all!! I really enjoyed reading your reminders of the Christmas traditions.

    I also love, love, love your nativity set! It is on Christmas wish list. We have a different nativity set that was given to us for Christmas last year. It also didn’t come with a manger. I actually found one at wal-mart.

  3. I LOVE this post Tricia! Thanks for sharing. All of your decorations are so sweet. I love the willow tree nativity set too! We did something new this year and set up a separate Jesus tree. I made some ornaments with the different names of Jesus. I made enough for 25 days and we put an ornament on the tree each day and read the correlating verse. i got the idea from a friend at church. I thought it was a neat way to celebrate Christ all month long and point Tobey in the right direction of the true meaning of Christmas.

  4. Tricia – this is one of my favorite posts that you have ever done. I love that you took the time to share all of the symbolism.

    Nadia loved putting out the Nativity set this year and she likes to go by it and say, “baby jesus” It’s really sweet.

  5. P.S. I love those tree houses. How very sweet of your Grandpa.

  6. […] I couldn’t find any evidence Christian symbolism behind tree ornaments, but I did find this adage taken from the same womens’ retreat I mentioned in this post. […]


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