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Spread some Christmas cheer

Progressive Dairyman Editor Karen Lee Published on 30 November 2015
christmas wreath

Ever since the arrival of our first child, my husband and I have tried to get a unique picture of our children for our annual Christmas card.

I don’t do hand-written notes or a typed and copied Christmas letter like others, and therefore our picture needs to be worth a thousand words to sum up a year’s worth of family greetings.

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We’ve let our babies enjoy strings of Christmas lights and had our oldest package up her new little sister to trade to Santa for presents, but by far the most-liked photo of all is the one pictured on the front cover of this issue.

Yes, as a very proud mom, those are my three little ones. Well, maybe a little less little – as a year has passed since that photo was taken.

If this scene was ever to be, it was going to be last year, when we had an infant that could be wrapped in swaddling clothes, two older children that could stand by the manger and a group of onlookers – much like the first Christmas. With the help of a few old bed sheets and pillowcases, and a staff made from old piping and electrical tape, the scene came together.

I do believe that at some point I will get an earful from my children about how my middle daughter had to play the role of Joseph (a boy), and that we actually laid our baby on a mound of hay, but years from now perhaps they’ll recreate this scene for me, much like others are doing with favourite family photos from 20 or 30 years ago.

Regardless of the grief I may get one day, knowing that this Christmas card brought some holiday cheer to our friends and family that received it made it all worth it.

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The holiday season can be rather stressful. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be juggling school concerts, church programs, family gatherings and the additional shopping and baking that accompanies Christmas. As everyone manages his or her own hectic schedules, it seems like holiday stress is overtaking holiday cheer.

I became acutely aware of this last year as I was wrapping up some shopping just a few days before Christmas. As I walked away from the register, I wished the cashier a “Merry Christmas.” She looked up at me, stunned, as if I was speaking another language. From one stressed customer to the next that day, I doubt she had received many cheerful greetings. Perhaps mine was the first.

If you are feeling a bit stressed this Christmas, I urge you to take a step back and find a way to remember the reason for this joyous season. Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. While we do this in many different ways in the 21st century, that very first Christmas was quite simple.

Mary and Joseph may have had a fair amount of stress in finding a place to stay and the arrival of a baby, but once Jesus was born I’d imagine that little stable was filled with peace, joy and lots of Christmas cheer.

As you go about your holiday preparations the next few weeks, I urge you not to lose sight of the true reason for the season. Read our Christmas articles from Elaine Froese, Tom Heck and Leon Leavitt to hear how each of the authors found some of the simplest things of the season to be what they treasure the most.

Once you have found what brings out your Christmas cheer, by all means, spread it around.

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With that, I wish you a Merry Christmas from my farm family to yours!  PD

Karen Lee
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