Please join me in welcoming Erin Bishop of The Whatever Girls today as our featured guest! Erin has brought a special gift with her today, a chance to win tickets to the upcoming Whatever Girls Live Event! Check out the bottom of the post for details!
flickr photo credit Nina Matthews
Decorating for Christmas is an all hand’s on deck affair for my family. Two days after Thanksgiving, we start spreading Christmas cheer after a hearty breakfast.
I walk downstairs and open the creaky closet door under the stairs, and take a deep breath. This part of the job always results in me having a crooked neck and stiff back by the time I’m done.
I pull down a chain and a dim light brightens the room. Box after box, and red and green bins stacked precariously, stare back at me. Somehow, I always convince myself there is an army of spiders just waiting to lunge forward in rebellion of this interruption to their pitch black.
I start at the front of the closet and start stacking boxes in the hallway. The sounds of bells, whistle’s and trains travel downstairs- my son has found the Polar Express soundtrack.
I join my family upstairs and find father and son putting the Christmas tree together and my daughter smiling down at an ornament she made in kindergarten.
Conversations like “Hey, I forgot about this one!” and “Oh, look at this one, it’s always been my favorite” and “Luke, hand me some more branches” fill the room for the next few hours. I love this time of rediscovery and remembrance as the smells of Christmas waft through our home.
I unpack my favorite Christmas treasures that have been passed down from my childhood. A Christmas sleigh and Christmas caroler candles made by Avon are among my prized Christmas decorations. I still display the carolers next to the sleigh, pretending they got on and off their horse-drawn sleigh to go caroling throughout their town. One smell of these never lit candles, and Christmas memories come flooding back to me. Christmas Eve spent at my grandparents, my mom in her pretty red dress, and fresh lipstick making a platter of mounds, fudge and cookies to take share with family. The smell of my dad’s Old Spice as he whistles along with the Elvis’ Christmas tape on the stereo.
Later that night, after the last empty box has been taken downstairs, I turn off all the upstairs lights. The only light is from the white Christmas lights on the tree and the flickering of my Christmas candles. The aroma of cinnamon, orange and pine fill the room. My favorite Christmas words serenade me, and I open Christmas:
“Oh, holy night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt His worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees
Oh, hear the Angel voices”
My eyes fill, and start to burn.
I soak in these Christmas words. They run through my spirit.
I feel that thrill of hope deep in my bones- my weary soul rejoices and I fall to my knees in worship of the Christ Child. I scarce can take it in.
I whisper words of thanksgiving and pray that I will remember this feeling when the inferior threaten to take the place of the most important. Gift budgets, unfinished projects, party after party, cookies to frost, cards to mail, packages to wrap-Martha’s list.
“Like all the things in life that are truly meaningful, Christmas is never about perfection. In Bethlehem 2000 years ago accommodation was makeshift, the Wise Men followed somewhat confused directions and the shepherds gave the nearest gifts that came to hand.” (Call the Midwife)
My prayer is that you feel that “thrill of hope” throughout this Christmas season and beyond.
Erin Bishop is the Founder and President of the Whatever Girls Ministry. She and her husband Roger live in Spokane, Washington with their two kids Grace (15) and Luke (9). For more information about Erin and the Whatever Girls click here.
Erin would love you to check out the Whatever Girls 10:3 Campaign. They are hoping to raise $10,000 by December 31, 2013. Will you be one of the 333 to invest $10 per month between now and December 31 to help them reach their goal? Click here for more information.
The Whatever Girls would like to give you a Christmas gift to open. We are giving away a free registration to our April 2014 conference “Whatever Girls Live” worth $299. Click the below conference button for details about the conference.
We have several opportunities for you to enter to win, below.