Friday, November 20, 2015

A Pinterest Christmas: Repurposing Christmas

So many things in my life are changing right now, some for the good and some for the eventual-good. Change is as difficult as it is exciting.

This year I want to re-purpose Christmas. I want to make this Advent actually reflect the advent of Christ. Now I know what you're thinking: it's only November, what's this talk about Advent? Let me ask you, why does Advent begin December 1st? As far as I can tell its a completely arbitrary date, so this year I am celebrating a long Advent.

As I reflect on the birth of Christ I hold Isaiah 43:18-19 very dear to my heart: "The Lord says, 'Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.'"

And isn't that what Christmas is really all about? A new thing. A new life. A new chance. A new hope. Praise God!

My candle centerpiece was made with repurposed Christmas decorations. These had all decorated my office the last five Christmas holidays. Looking at them in their previous form caused me hurt, but cutting the cranberries, twigs, and pine cones from the deteriorating wreath they were attached to and instead placing them amongst these mini-ornaments caused me much joy. Will you #RepurposeChristmas with me?
  1. Gather your supplies: one large vase (I used a trifle bowl), one small vase, a candle, small ornaments, and various seasonal decorations (I used plastic cranberries, twigs, and pine cones).
  2. Place the candle in the smaller case, and the smaller vase in the larger vase. 
  3. Place the ornaments in the large vase.
  4. Scatter the remaining decorations amongst the ornaments. Voila! A beautiful centerpiece in just a few minutes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Pinterest Christmas: The Innkeeper

With funds reduced this Christmas, I've turned to Pinterest for low cost ideas on Christmas. And since the Christmas feels like it is shorter every year, I'm starting early this year!

Each Christmas we read of the birth of our Savior and give little thought to the modern application. Even those not regularly attending church have heard "And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7, NKJV)

That's nice, and all, but since we no longer travel for a census, use a manger on our farms (for those of you who have farms), or even use the words "swaddling clothes" to describe our newborn's clothes the verse sits distantly in our memory somewhere near Shakespeare.

But there was a real innkeeper who for real reasons was unable to make room for Christ. And so many of us find us living our day to day lives in the same manner. Work. Kids. Clubs. Friends. And at the end of the day, where was Jesus?

Especially at Christmas we need to consciously decide that Christ is the center of our day, the center of the season, the center of our lives.

For this project the quote grabbed my attention immediately. I had an empty frame and a piece of construction paper. Using a gold Sharpie, I penned the quote and a small manger scene, then outlined it with a fine tip black Sharpie. In less than an hour - and for $0 - I made this simple wall piece and had new Christmas art.

Friday, November 6, 2015

November Pinterest Project

King David made some bad decisions, but he also loved God. Even though he had distracted moments where he put himself first, God was never far from him. I love how Angie Smith puts it in her book Seamless, "David wasn't a man after God's own heart because David didn't sin. He was a man after God's own heart because he kept coming back to God." This is a great comfort to me.

One of David's desires was to build God a proper home, where the Ark could be stored. David could not come to terms with the Ark being in a tent while he lived in a proper structure (2 Samuel 7:2). But David was not allowed to build the temple because he was a man of war, and God desired it be built by a man of peace, David's son Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:8-9). But David did what he could and prepared the supplies for the task awaiting his son.

At the end of 1 Chronicles we read David's prayer. It's beautiful to see such joy accompany giving. I pray God gives me this same kind of joy this giving season.

“Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You. For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, As were all our fathers; Our days on earth are as a shadow, And without hope." 1 Chronicles 29:13-15

My November Pinterest project looked to capture this same spirit of pilgrimage, joy, and giving. Since I had no twine to wrap the candle I used construction paper to make this pilgrim hat which I flanked with the words "thanks" and "giving".