DIY Nativity Christmas Ornament

As I turn a sharp corner from the tasks of Thanksgiving, I’m met head-on by another rapidly growing to-do list.  My focus on Christmas cards, gift ideas, decorations, and teacher gifts so easily clouds my intention to focus on Christ this holiday season.

Why do I struggle most with finding time to spend with God during the holidays?   How ironic that the word “holiday” actually means “Holy Day” – a time set a side to remember and meditate on the gift of His Love that came in an unlikely manner to an unlovable people.

This year, my prayer is to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and to do away with anything that takes the spotlight off of Christ and His birth.  Maybe that means not doing Christmas cards this year or that many the people on my gift list get gift cards.  Maybe I buy my desserts this year (gasp!).  It’s ok to let some things go if it means having time to relish the joy  this season brings.

What are your biggest distractions?  What tasks do you need to distance yourself from this Christmas in order to grow closer to Him?  What items on your to-do list are life-draining and which are life-giving?  Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your awareness of God’s promised presence this Christmas season.

I like to surround myself with decor that reminds me of the true focus of this time of year – that over 2,000 years ago a baby was born to be a messenger of salvation and love to a lost world.  One such item is this Nativity Ornament.  It is such an easy craft to make with your kids but also a classy addition to your tree.

Here is what you need from any craft store:

4″ grapevine wreath

3/4 inch wood ball

White card stock

Silver glitter scrapbook paper

Gauze

1 inch piece of a dowel rod (1/2 inch diameter)

Silver glitter (optional)

twine or yarn (optional)

Hot Glue Gun

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First,  print and cut out the “Adore Him” banner on white card stock with this download.  Be careful to cut just inside the gray line of the banner

Next, use the same file to print the star stencil.  Cut out the star on card stock and use it as a stencil by tracing it on the back of the silver glitter scrapbook paper.  Cut out your star.

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Adhere your star to the top of the wreath with hot glue.  Then, add a small amount of hot glue to the back of the banner and attach it to the star.

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Now, take the round ball and hot glue it to the dowel rod piece like so.  (I cut off a small piece of dowel rod with a trim saw.)  Use plenty of hot glue and don’t worry if it is visible because we will cover that part with the gauze.

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Cut two four-inch squares of gauze and fold them over to make a rectangle.  Hot glue the baby in the middle, positioned so the gauze just covers the glue on the neck.  Wrap the gauze around Baby Jesus and secure it with more hot glue.

At this point you can sprinkle some glitter over the outside of the swaddle.  The glitter will get stuck in the gauze well enough that you don’t need glue.

Use a generous amount of hot glue to secure it to the wreath.  Finally, add a piece of twine at the top or just a hook and it’s ready for the tree!

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Now, you have a cute nativity ornament to help you to remember the present of His presence this holiday season.

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Be sure to subscribe to the blog as next week we will make the JOY wreath below!

 

‘Til Next Time,

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Sit A Spell : The Value of Spending Time With The One Who Made It

As a young girl from southeast Texas, I knew the art of sitting on a porch swing with sweet tea.  I would talk with my grandfather…or sometimes just sit, watching the birds at the feeder.  I can still feel the cool breeze on my cheeks.  Most of the time I just enjoyed his presence in that old swing where time seemed to stand still.  No agenda.  No to-do list.  I would just sit.  Little did I know, he enjoyed this time with me even more than I did.

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As I flash forward to my current self, I am surrounded by lists, tasks and a mind swimming with new projects to work on.  Back then, time was once a shallow pool I could wade in, but now it was a rushing rapid and I am struggling to just hold on for dear life.

So many times I have quoted, “Be still and know that I am God” without spending time to truly understand the context of this verse.  Psalm 46 is one of three chapters showing appreciation to God for delivering Jerusalem from the Assyrians in battle.  Psalm 46:10 is actually directed more towards the attackers of Jerusalem by saying “Cease striving against Me.  You can’t win against my plans. I AM God.”    This verse has tremendous application for the church also.  So many times I find myself in rebellion, either passively or actively, against God’s plans.

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I’ve seen this more-so in how I spend my time.  As a strong Type-A, I have a daily to-do list with certain tasks I “must” accomplish every day (or that’s my intention, at least).  At the end of each day, I try to look at what I can check off in order to better plan for the next.  Often times, I noticed that my most urgent task was often saved until very last or even left undone – my time with God.

Why was this?  I knew my time with Him was important but my list clearly showed that I deemed other items more important, or at least more urgent.  Maybe I felt like getting other tasks accomplished was more fulfilling because I could better see immediate effects.   Whatever the case may be, I was striving against the time I needed to spend with God, in favor of other items on my list.

Somehow I got in my hand that I was accomplishing more by taking care of other tasks on my list.  However, my preoccupation with my to-do list was preventing me from doing the one thing that I needed most – spending regular time with Him in prayer and the study of His Word.

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S.D. Gordan once said, “The greatest thing anyone can do for God and for man is to pray.  You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than prayer until you have prayed.  Prayer is striking up the winning blow.  Service is gathering up the results.” In other words, if you want your time to be effective, make sure you have prayed and spent time with God.  If we want to be effective – truly effective in life – we will pray first.

There is no other time management strategy more successful than spending regular time with God – sitting with Him in prayer and meditating on His Word.  I can see a distinct difference in the days where I have not been still with Him.  Those days are always more stressful and tasks just seem to take longer.  On the days I do spend time with Him, I have comfort knowing He is in control of whatever the day brings.

When we allow other tasks to come before time with our God, we get in our own way and strive against our own productivity.  We are most productive when we are still before our Maker, spending time with Him. 

When I pick up my daughter Morgan from kindergarten each day, I can’t wait to see her, to hear about her day and to spend time with my girl.  One afternoon in the carpool line, as my hands clinched the steering wheel in excitement to see her, it dawned at me that although God knows us intimately, He has the same excitement when we spend time with Him.

As God’s Child, He loves you more than you can fathom.    Like my grandfather sat with me on the porch swing, He longs to spend time with you, to hear about your day, what’s on your mind and He desires to put your heart at ease.  If we want to make the most of our time, we will be still in the presence of the One who made it.

‘Til Next Time,

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