It's a word full of meaning.
We sing about it, we celebrate it, we long for it.
When we're away, we can't wait to get back.
When things are rough, we long to retreat to it.
When we smell gingerbread baking, we're taken back there in our memories.
For generations, when we've thought of Christmas, we've thought of home.
(Hit "play" for a little mood music!)
We've lived in many different houses over the years, from Michigan to Texas to South Dakota, and several states in between. We've learned to make each of them our home. But it isn't where the house is, or what we put in it that makes it "home." It's who is there.
And the who? Our family, our extended families, our church family.... It doesn't really matter, does it?
When we're surrounded by loved ones, we're home.
Today I decided to share our Christmas decorations. They've migrated from house to house with us, and it's always a challenge to put up decorations purchased for one house in another, completely different venue :)
We put the decorations up in layers. We've collected winter decorations over the years (especially when we lived in the south and were homesick for snow and slanted winter sun beams), so we put those in place first.
Snowmen, reindeer and pine trees dominate the winter scenes.
And then we layer the Christmas decorations over them...and around them...
Red balls, lights, the Christmas tree....
My mom's favorite - Nutcrackers from Germany.
Christmas decorations saved from our childhood trees.
These are more than sixty years old. I can't believe they've survived our moves from state to state.
Finally, the manger scene. We have several, but the one from my husband's childhood takes center stage.
And we add outdoor decorations to spread some of the cheer to the neighbors.
This was an easy decoration to make. A bushel basket, some trimmings from our Christmas tree, a few logs from our stack of firewood, some scented pine cones and a string of LED lights (LED because I didn't want any added heat to the flammable ingredients!). It glows on our front porch all evening, a bit of a Christmas Card for the neighborhood.
And inside the house while we decorated, the crowning touch - a simmering potpourri.
1/2 bag fresh cranberries
3 or 4 cinnamon sticks
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
Cut up the apple and orange (go ahead and eat the second half!)...
...and put everything in a pot with a couple quarts of water. I like to use my little one gallon crockpot, but you can use a pot on the stove, too.
Heat, covered, until the water gets steamy and the cranberries get soft. Then reduce the temperature, remove the lid, and let the Christmas scent make its way through your home.
We're back to Home again, aren't we?
I can't think of Home without remembering that my final Home isn't here. We're just pilgrims on a journey.
And I can't leave without sharing my family's favorite Christmas song. There are a lot of good ones to choose from, but this one really reminds us of what Christmas is all about.