+[questions you've asked: intentional holidays part 3]+

Lo, in the silent night
A child to God is born
and all is brought again
That ere was lost or lorn.
Could but thy soul, O man,
Become a silent night!
God would be born in thee
And set all things aright.
15th century

So music playlists for gatherings, movies, crafts, recipes, traditions and activities we enjoy each Christmas are all post themes which have been requested by readers here.  As Ive thought through what in the world I would respond with, a few shareables have surfaced.    But more than anything a sense of remembrance has lingered. 

There is no boxed curriculum for having family traditions.  And though we can certainly gain inspiration for decorations and activity, recipes and background music, it seems all too easy to get lost in these 1,2,3's.  At least to me it does.  What I am trying to say is summed up best in a book I am reading throughout the Advent season:

"Content with candles and carols and good food, we bask in the warmth of familiar traditions, in reciprocated acts of kindness, and in feelings of general goodwill.  How may of us remember the harsh realities of Christs first coming:  the dank stable, the cold night, the closed door of the inn?  How many of us share in the longing of the ancient prophets, who awaited the Messiah with such aching intensity that they foresaw his arrival thousands of years before He was born?"

I think what I would like to share most is that last year, when we had little in the way of what youve asked me to share (plus no presents, no tree, no decorations - thus, sadly, few traditions) was not the greatest Christmas we ever had in terms of it being fun, but I think it was the most profound.  

We understood, perhaps for the first time dank, cold, closed, waiting and ache. 

Advent and Christmas are about God coming to us.  Not us making a perfect space, dinner, evening or gift ourselves.    He came to the funk and still does, but without Him coming (to us personally, to our families personally) its all meaningless.  So Id rather lead you to looking that direction.

Instead of sharing what music I suggest you play, and what movies, crafts, recipes, traditions  and activities to plan, Ill instead leave you with what was our most influential Christmas to date.   You can read all of it here, with the exception of the first few posts here.    Im reading it too because Im finding it ever so tempting to fall into contentment with the things which are more readily available to me this year.

In preparing for this season I pray that what I shared last year, in walking through a season with literally nothing but a bible, some candles, a fireplace and our family of 4, you can see that was only in Him coming to us, leading us,  that we found the truest satisfaction of the season. 

May your soul, your home and your celebration  become the silent night as you look ahead to this Advent season.