This little spot in cyber-space has been quiet during the Christmas season, but not for lack of activity around our household.

Today I sit and enjoy the tree lights before the special Christmas treasures get packed up and put away for another year.

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The pyramid from Christmases spent in Germany...

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The nativity from a mission in Poland...

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The tree and all the loving memories it holds...

I’m grateful for a few minutes to sit and reflect on the past few weeks.

It’s been a different Christmas for our family, but in the midst of adjustments, an unwelcomed flu ‘bug’, crazy weather,  work schedules and project deadlines we enjoyed some lovely moments together.

Gingerbread men have been welcomed guests since my boys were little guys.

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The Chaplain prepares his special addition for the family Christmas with all the ingredients lined up like soldiers.

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Let the Christmas munching begin!

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Remembering the Reason for the celebration...

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...is the Light that came to make all the difference!

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My favorite 10 year old loves to pass out the gifts.

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It was the year of Legos for my favorite 6 year old.

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Our 'little princess' enjoyed her first Christmas...especially the wrapping paper!

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This message on our tree is exactly what we experienced!

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I pray a Merry Christmas is what you experienced as well!

Finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without our annual family photo.

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Blessings to you and yours on this last day of 2010!

The house lights go off and the footlights come on.

Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise.

In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised.

The conductor has raised his baton.

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In the silence of a midwinter dusk,

there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint

that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself.

You hold your breath to listen.

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You walk up the steps to the front door.

The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing.

For a second you catch a whiff of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for.

You are aware of the beating of your heart.

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The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the

extraordinary moment just before it happens.

Advent is the name of that moment.

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The Salvation Army Santa Claus clangs his bell.

The sidewalks are so crowded you can hardly move.

Exhaust fumes are the chief fragrance in the air,

and everybody is as bundled up against any sense of

what all the fuss is really about as they are bundled up against the windchill factor.

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But if you concentrate just for an instant,

far off in the deeps of you somewhere you can feel the beating of your heart.

For all its madness and lostness,

not to mention your own,

you can hear the world itself holding its breath.


— Taken from Frederick Buechner’s, Whistling in the Dark : An ABC Theologized. (Harper Collins Publisher, pp. 2,3.)

photos from www.istockphoto.com

“It’s a tradition!” This declaration was joyfully made by my favorite 10 year old. She was talking about our yearly gingerbread house creation.


This year she decided to shake things up a bit and went with a gingerbread village.


She and her brother patiently waited as each little piece was prepared.


Then it was time for the creating to begin!


In between finding excuses to eat the gumdrops and lick the spoon,

Noah spread snow all over his roof.


I think the village turned out great!


So grateful for traditions!

I thought about the sticky frosting that works like glue to hold this little gingerbread creation together.

Traditions are kind of like that–glue that keeps a family together.

What are some of your traditions?

We’re a ‘put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving’ family. It’s become a tradition for two special little people to help. I must say they are getting to be quite the decorators.

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As we were decorating Jolie stepped back to admire the tree and said:

“Anyone looking at your tree would know you love God. There are lots of crosses, stars, angels and manger scenes.”

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I look at the tree and see just as many Santa and snowman ornaments, but it was interesting to hear her view. It was a great opportunity to talk about what’s on the outside matching the inside. We talked about important things like whether anyone looks at my life and knows I love God? I can decorate my life with crosses and talk of Jesus, but if it doesn’t come out in my words and actions, it’s no more than a shallow decoration.

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Who knew that decorating a Christmas tree could bring such meaningful conversation? Grateful for such moments to celebrate the coming Advent season.