Our last Open Heart and Home post comes from a sweet friend named
Kelly Balarie.
Many of you supported us when we stepped out in faith to attend She Speaks and Kelly is a special blessing from that trip. As Donna and I sat down for the last evening meal of the weekend we had the wonderful opportunity to make a new friend! Kelly’s eyes sparkled and her smile was sweet and we now know her heart is just a joy filled with Jesus’ love. Love that she freely shares with others over at http://purposefulfaith.com/
Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a “Cheerleader of Faith”, Kelly’s greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord. She loves to speak, write and cheer others on as they go on this adventurous, exciting and life-changing journey.

Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a “Cheerleader of Faith”, Kelly’s greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.
She loves to speak, write and cheer others on as they go on this adventurous, exciting and life-changing journey.

We pray you enjoy Kelly as she shares “Embracing Tradition” with us today!
Honestly, I haven’t been one for too much Christmas tradition. It’s not that I don’t care about Christmas, because clearly it is one of the most important holidays, but I tend to get super busy at this time.  

It can be hard to add one more thing to do, when I can hardly keep up with what I already have to do. Do you get me?
 
I am so busy being busy that I can’t slow down to make things matter for my family.

So, when I was so thoughtfully invited by Jodie to participate in this series, I said yes, but thought, “Oh boy, what do I do?”
 
Sometimes, the Lord drops things on our lap, to make us realize that we can’t get up unless we address the issue.  I think this is exactly what he did here.
 
He wanted me to see – Him. He wanted my family to see – Him.
 
Because traditions are memories.  And, memories will be the heart sparks that will last forever in my mind and the mind of my children.
 
This is enough to convict me into action. 
 
So, the memories that I am sharing today are new traditions for us! Some of them are being implemented for the first time ever in the hearts of my 3- and 1-year old – this year.  I can’t wait to see how they respond.
 
Here goes, ladies (hold me to this!):
 
1. A Crafted Ornament 
We can all recall the images of the stable, the manger, the star, the animals, right?    Each Christmas, we will rest our minds in the story of Christmas by creating crafted ornament depicting the various people and elements.  This will give us the opportunity to bring to life what was Christmas over 2000 years ago.  
ornament 2

At the center, we will talk about Jesus.  Because when we find Jesus, we find life.  When we find life, we find freedom.  Christmas is about being free in the life-giving truth that Christ birthed.
 
2. A Scripture Hunt
On the week prior to Christmas, we will hunt for scripture.  These will be key verses that illuminate the joy of Christmas and the arrival of our King.  With this, we will spark the truth of the glorious gift that will be arriving for us all to enjoy.  Each child’s scripture will be written with a little note to them or a prayer.
 
3. Christmas Eve Carol
Hot Chocolate, marshmallows, a front stoop and praises being lifted up to the Lord.  This will be my family and me on Christmas Eve as we sing “Away in the Manger” to Jesus our Lord.
caroling
 
I hope this inclines our heart towards Jesus. I hope these are memories that all my children will hold for a lifetime. I hope that Jesus is glorified through our words and our actions.
 
Because he gave us hope beyond all hope – and for this, all we can do is praise that little baby that lies in the manger.  All we can do is center our traditions around him.  All we can do is lift him up in our minds.
Kelly
I shared with Kelly, after reading her thoughts on Christmas traditions this quote:
“There is something about saying, we always do this, which helps keep the years together. Time is such an elusive thing that if we keep on meaning to do something interesting, but never do it, year would follow year with no special thoughtfulness being expressed in making gifts, surprises, charming table settings, and familiar food. Tradition is a good gift intended to guard the best gifts.”
I grew up in a broken home. At 8 my parents split. I still cherish the very few traditions that spoke love to my heart…like fried chicken on my birthday! All of our traditions may not be the same and I am the first to admit that having traditions just to have them doesn’t mean Christmas. However, traditions can plant seeds of love and joy. And when thoughtfully planned they can help us keep focused on the love of Christ and the celebration of His birthday. This world pulls and tugs at us. It encourages us to get caught up in other things rather than staying caught up in the love of Christ.
christmas is love
Our prayer for each heart and home reading is that the love of Christ will be the center of your Christmas traditons in the hopes that others will see His love and get caught up in Him with us!
Merry CHRISTmas everyone!
From our hearts and homes to yours- Jodie and Donna