As this is the first Christmas I have spent with OB (he was rehabilitated to his birth mother over Christmas last year) I have decided to initiate several Christmas traditions, some of which I hope will stand the test of time.
We're starting out with a Jesse's Tree Advent tree. I bought the little wooden decorations and accompanying book from 'Embrace the Middle East' some time ago. The idea is that you carry out a little advent devotional each day and then hang the appropriate symbol up somewhere.
I didn't really have a 'somewhere' so I have decided to use our Christmas tree. Once I had tidied up the last of OB's birthday party detritus last night, I unearthed the tree and the lights and brought it downstairs, ready for the ceremonial ornament hanging today.
This is the earliest that I have ever put up my Christmas tree. When I was teaching I didn't used to bother until the weekend before we broke up for Christmas, and then I'd take it down again the last weekend of the Christmas holidays, so putting it up on December 1st seems quite strange! But somehow it did seem appropriate to have the end of OB's birthday heralding the beginning of the festive season.
This morning I had the tree ready with the lights twinkling away when the boys came downstairs for breakfast. Their little faces were well-worth the effort! "Tree!" and "Lights!" they kept saying. Then we said a little prayer and hung the first decoration on the tree. Very sweet and very simple.
Admittedly, the decoration does look at bit like a Halloween scary face! But it's actually meant to be a representation of the world (as created by God!).
I think this tradition will run and run.