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Every year right after Thanksgiving I start to get excited about Christmas. We put up our tree on December 1st (and finished decorating on the 4th), and I am almost done putting up the rest of the decorations. Our house looks soo pretty at Christmas time! The style of it really fits the winter holidays, which makes it extra fun to decorate.
One of my very favorite holiday traditions is Candle Time. Someone gave a starter kit to our family when I was 7 or 8, and it continued to grow from there. Each night in December we would light candles, starting with one and ending up with twenty four on Christmas Eve. We would read a Christmas story, or scriptures telling of the prophecies or birth of Christ. Then we would sing three Christmas hymns (no Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer) and then say our family prayer and go to bed.
On the 24 we would do a big celebration, carrying on a tradition from my grandparents. Everyone would get dressed up in costumes and act out the Nativity while my dad read the account of Christs birth from Luke 2. The littlest baby always played Jesus, unless they were way too big, and then we had a doll stand in. Afterwards we would drink wassail and sing Christmas carols and visit for hours.
I loved sitting in the darkness lit only by candles and lights from the tree, listening to my dad reading stories of Christmas, surrounded by all of the people I loved best. When I think of Christmas, candle time is what I think of first.
Candle time was also my moms favorite part of Christmas. Having 9 children and not a lot of income, I think Christmas was probably quite stressful for her. Taking the time to be together each night and focus once again on why we celebrate Christmas helped her remember that it didn't matter how much was under the tree. She died on Christmas Eve, 11 years ago. I still miss her, but having candle time with my own family helps me feel close to her during the holidays, and I am reminded once again of the great blessing we have. Because of Christ, I will see her again. THAT is why I celebrate Christmas.
Recipe below photo!
|Photo Source: Design*Sponge|
Here is my dads recipe to make your own Christmas Eve wassail:
1 gallon fresh apple cider (the best kind you can find)
1 gallon orange juice
1/2 c. Brown sugar
Pinch of salt
Mix the first three ingredients together, then add seasonings to taste. Heat and allow flavors to combine. Serve hot, garnish with a cinnamon stick.