Monday, December 24, 2012

The Jesus Gift - Our Christmas Tradition

I'd like to share a story about our Christmas tradition of the "Jesus Gift"; which first graced it's presence under our tree in 1992. 

It was getting close to Christmas and I was feeling extremely depressed the closer it came.  I had recently become a single Mom, and was having a hard time with the holiday festivities.  The church we were attending was having a sit-down dinner and I had decided not to go, as my heart was just not in it.  However, my mother kept encouraging me to go -- and finally I gave in. 

I can still remember how lovely the table looked.  As I sat down I noticed a simple package had been set at each place setting.  The packages were wrapped in white tissue paper & tied with green ribbon -- the tag attached contained the following poem:

This is a very special gift,
You can never see.
The reason it’s so special,
Is it’s just for you, from me.

Whenever you are lonely
Or even feeling blue,
You only have to hold this gift
And know I think of you.

You never can unwrap it,
Please leave the ribbon tied;
Just hold this box
Close to your heart,
It’s filled with love inside.
                                       - anon

The thought of that little package, at such a difficult time in my life, was a blessing to my soul -- and just what I needed.  I brought it home and placed it under our Christmas tree, as the first gift of Christmas.  And that was when I came up with the idea of the "Jesus Gift" -- Jesus gift of love to us being himself...the reason we celebrate Christmas. 

And so our tradition began -- Each year the first gift under the tree is the "Jesus Gift".  And it's also the first present taken out from under the tree Christmas morning.  One of our family will read the poem attached, then we'll each take turns holding the "gift" and say what our birthday gift will be to Jesus for the following year.  Instead of New Year's resolutions, we offer a gift to Jesus.  It might be the gift of volunteering more, or reading the bible in a year, or maybe even something more specific. 

This year I had to re-package ours as it was quite yellow with age, so I used one sheet of 12x12 white cardstock to wrap a small box.  With the leftover card I stamped an image on the front of the manger scene "O Holy Night", by Northwoods, and printed the poem for the inside.  The simple green ribbon is seam binding.

Every year I try to make a few of these gifts to share with others.  I like to share the story of the tradition of the "Jesus Gift" -- but how they choose to use this gift of love is up to them. 

I hope this story of our Christmas tradition will warm your heart, and give you a chance to invite Jesus into your Christmas celebration too.

Warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas! 
God Bless -- Lisa

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wintertime Paris Tag

Just sneaking in under the wire for Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of 2012, for November. I bet you didn't think I could do it.  lol.   I've been remembering back to the time we went with some of our Aussie friends to Paris for New Year's 2003.  We ended up at Versailles  while it was snowing and had such fun building a snowman!  I've got a picture around here somewhere...I'll have to dig it up sometime and add it to this post.  It was very surreal...building a snowman at Versailles -- such wonderful memories.

Anyway...on to my tag!  I used a variety of TH stamps from Shabby French, Winter Sketchbook, & Sketch stamp sets, then hand-wrote the sentiment, "Dreamin' of Wintertime in Paris."  I used some mini Christmas tree pearls to tie onto the tag, and added extra clear embossing on the edges & on the snowflakes, and some dusting of stickles as well.  The chandelier lights are tiny swarovski crystals.  My colors of choice were Broken China & Peeled Paint Distress Stains, and Chipped Sapphire distress ink. 

By the way...I didn't have a craft iron like Tim had in his post, so I turned my tag upside down on a piece of newsprint paper and used my heat gun to heat up the embossing powder while I used a brayer to flatten the tag onto the newprint.  It took a bit more time than ironing would've done, but it still worked!  Check out his post for all the details!

Finished it off with a gorgeous facet gem...and now...I think I'll call it a night.  =)

Keep Dreamin'!  Lisa