2017 Home for the Holiday
"Getting in the MOOD for Christmas"

Welcoming the season of home and family
By Jim Youngquist

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[November 27, 2017]  The holiday season is upon us. Beginning with Thanksgiving, it is the time to transform everything from the mundane to the magical. Although there are many things that change all around you, the biggest transformation is the one that happens inside you.

A favorite holiday movie is that 2000 classic, “How the Grinch stole Christmas.” It isn’t that the Grinch is supposed to characterize the typical citizen, but at times we resemble the Grinch when we are ill-tempered, when we get annoyed easily, when we resent other people for one reason or another, and when we are totally zapped by the rigors of ordinary life until we are reduced to reclusive, irritable people devoid of joy. It can happen to anyone!

It’s painful to watch the Grinch because we connect with his pain. And then the magic scene comes on the screen when the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes because he observed the joyous spirit of little Cindy Lou Who, who sang a song of joy even though all the tinsel, trees, presents and lights had been stolen away. The holiday spirit was on the inside, not just the outside. And the lonely, miserly, pathetic Grinch was transformed into a joyful celebrant who gave out of kindness rather than stealing out of jealousy.

Thanksgiving Day is the kickoff holiday (not meant to be a football pun), the one which causes us to reflect on the blessings of the year gone past, and join with family to celebrate each other. We join together in warmth around a table laden with sumptuous foods and desserts, putting down our cell phones and tablets to join in conversation with friends and family, strengthening bonds and sharing life. In this we rejoice because of the relationships we have and reflect that we are still together. And we give thanks to God because of how loving He is, and how He has remembered even us.

About thirty days later comes Christmas Eve, a hallowed night when we remember that God so loved the whole world that He sent His only Son. Jesus came into the world as a baby, as one of us. His first home was very humble: a mere stable, his bed a hay-filled manger. Surrounded by the animals and his parents, the shepherds came in from the fields where they lay keeping their flocks, and in the company of the angels were in awe of the miracle of the Messiah.

In our homes we surround ourselves with the magic of the season: Christmas movies, Christmas music, twinkling decorations, and presents under the tree. It’s a time for warmth and closeness, for home and family. The presents symbolize our love for one another, and are reminiscent of the gifts the wise men brought to baby Jesus. We read the Christmas story together once again and are entranced by how God included all of us in His blessing. And we too are transformed by the grace and the kindness of this season.

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Six days after Christmas, we once again have the opportunity to celebrate with one another on the day called “New Year’s.” The theme of New Year’s Day is renewal: it is a time to look back and look ahead. It is a celebration of relationship. And the value of relationship is underlined by our desire to forgive and start over without emotional debt. It is a time of good cheer and high spirits to begin a new year.

The Whos of Whoville sang a song, the first words of which are beyond translation, but the second line says, “Welcome, Christmas, come this way.” With those words they ushered in the joy and the cheer of the holiday, as we too welcome in this season of home and family.

May the blessings and joy of this season be upon you!

Read all the articles in our new
2017 Home for the Holiday magazine

Welcoming the season of home and family 4
"Getting in the mood" 7
Finding a little more 'Happy" in your holidays 11
Simple Joys for the holidays 14
Crafting for the holidays with the kids 19
Holiday recipes a time to rekindle family memories 25
Hot buys and trendy gifts this season 31
Reconnecting with holiday traditions 38
What do I want my Christmas to be? 43
Greetings and messages from local officials and LDN 46

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