Friday, December 21, 2012

Bloom! Christmas Favorites

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With Christmas day just around the corner, we thought we'd celebrate by sharing some of what we love about this time of the year and how we keep the focus on Jesus...


PhotobucketMegan:

A favorite Christmas memory: When my older sister and I were little, we weren't allowed to go downstairs until my parents were up, dressed and ready for the day. So would let them know that we were awake by holding a very loud "radio show." On Christmas Eve, Katie and I would make a list of the Christmas songs we would sing, who would sing what verse and when we would sing together. We wrote out opening and closing lines and advertisements, and on Christmas morning, the first one up would sneak into the other's room to start the show! 

How do you keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus? I focus best through journaling, so I try to make sure I have time to journal throughout the Christmas season. I love the season of advent, a church season that is simply filled with a pregnant pause: we remember the wait and the longing for God to show up, and we live in the wait and longing for him to come again. I find myself going back again and again to Mary's story and that one world-changing, "Yes." 

Neat craft: These Christmas ornaments are gorgeous and so easy to make!


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Joanna:

A favorite Christmas memory: Over the years, one of my favorite things near Christmastime is to go to my church's candlelight service.  Not only do we have special music and sing some classic Christmas songs, but we also reflect on Jesus coming and spend time together as a church body.  So special!


How do you keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus?  My church is reading a book by Ann Spangler called "Immanuel: A Daily Guide to Reclaiming Christmas".  This has been a great resource and very thought-provoking and encouraging.  It has helped me keep my focus on Jesus, Immanuel - because that is who Christmas is all about!

Fun snack:  I love Peppermint Chocolate Fudge!  A great snack to share with family and friends!
 

PhotobucketKrista:

A favorite Christmas memory: The night after Christmas Eve service, we all hung out in our backyard and roasted a pig.  My cousins and I got help turn it over and had the best food (my grandma is a great cook and has a great heart!). It was a time when the whole family plus my mom's siblings and their families were there and there was a lot of good conversations and good food.

How do you keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus?  I pray while I drive my car. It's very easy for me to get distracted on the road and praying helps me focus on Christ and the people around me.

Fun Snack: Smores Brownies:

1. Toast Graham Cracker crumbs crust.
2. Pour brownie batter (I just get the mixes and add chocolate chips!) and bake in the oven.
3. Place small marshmallows and place in broil in the oven (watch this as the marshmallows turn brown very quickly!)
4. Top with graham crackers and enjoy!


PhotobucketEmily:

A favorite Christmas memory:  On the day before Christmas Eve years ago, Momma asked me what I wanted if I could have anything in the world for Christmas.  I answered, "A horse!"  I desperately wanted one.  As we sat around the table Momma told us to go to the window and look out. We all ran outside with everyone yelling at once.  Somehow at the moment I didn't notice the cold. Or the snow that had started to fall. When, we got outside I realized that there were two Paint Quarter Horses. To say I was overjoyed is an understatement. I actually cried and that's not something I do often.

That Christmas was simply glorious! Christmas Eve and Christmas day were spent sledding and riding "Cowboy and Scout" in the snow. A white Christmas isn't something you get every year in Oklahoma so that made it all the more special.

What is one way that helps you keep focused on Jesus during Christmas?  Advent is a great way to focus on the Reason (Jesus!) throughout the season. A fun tradition that we started to help the little kids understand what Christmas is about is going to find "Baby Jesus" on Christmas Eve. We put a baby doll wrapped in "swaddling clothes" in a manger that Daddy and I built out in the barn. The little kids have to bundle up and go find "Baby Jesus" in the manger. They get so excited when they find "Baby Jesus". Usually, as they take the baby inside there is a big discussion on the real Baby Jesus and how Mary and Joseph must have felt. It's a fun tradition and great for teaching little kids what Christmas is all about.
  
Fun snack: Today, I made yummy Oreo Balls. A favorite of ours!  Hope you enjoy!


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Victoria:

A favorite Christmas memory:  Years ago we had a Christmas Eve party at our house. There was laughter everywhere, people fellowshipping, and playing the piano.  Lots of fun!

How do you keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus?  I sit down and imagine His birth.  I like to look at the nativity scene and feel the wonder of it all - God's Son as a human baby; angels announcing the news to shepherds, of all people; and the glorious star. It is indeed a magical season for a very good reason!

Fun snack:  I love these dairy free chocolate chip cookies  Note: coconut oil can be used in place of the dairy free shortening.  Also, this recipe can probably be done using dairy ingredients.


We wish you a very Merry Christmas!  We're celebrating Jesus - Immanuel, God with us!

Joanna, Megan, Krista, Emily & Victoria
The Bloom! staff

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