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Saturday, December 3, 2016

New Mixed with Old

One of the great surprises in decorating for Christmas this year was the discovery of gifts we had received as we were leaving Stockholm and thus hadn't had the opportunity to display and enjoy them during the Christmas season. The best was this beautiful German candle carousel.
Gifted to us by dear friends and faithful church members, Bernd and Rhoda from Munich, Germany, when I opened the box I was returned to that last Christmas in Stockholm. Our last Sunday at Immanuel was the last Sunday of 2014 so many of our "last times" were related to Christmas. I had totally forgotten about this treasure because as previously mentioned, we didn't take Christmas stuff with us to London. We also didn't unpack this from its original packing because we wanted it securely packed for its journey across the ocean to our home in CA. So my delight upon opening it was a rich as a 5 year old's on Christmas morning! Additionally, Bernd and Rhoda have been such incredibly affirming, supportive friends through the years. They showed up in London for our first Sunday and subsequently spent Christmas there with us last year. We know that at some point we will welcome them to the desert! They have a golden retriever that Tanner taught how to swim in Stockholm once summer and they have always spoken deep, affirming words to us regarding our ministry. To have this tangible reminder of their connection to us is indeed special. I have long adored these German Christmas candle carousels. On our first trip to Germany back in 1999, we found our way to Rothenburg Ob der Tauber, a beautiful medieval, walled city that boasts of beautiful Christmas stores and other delights of Bavaria. When I stepped foot into the K├Ąthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store Doug actually had to tell me to calm down! I was so excited to be surrounded by such dazzling Christmas decorations. It was there that I purchased my beloved Christmas nativity carousel. Each year I looked forward to pulling this out of the box and enjoying the beauty of this piece. Now I have the other one to enjoy alongside of it.
No matter the climate I find myself surrounded by, I will delight in Christmas decorations. It's festive and cozy and fun to have a different look for a few weeks of the year. And as strange as it seems to celebrate Christmas with decidedly Nordic decor in a desert paradise, the beauty of the decor still shines. And on these chilly December mornings, it's nice to create the cozy atmosphere that I needed so desperately during those dark winter days in Sweden. I love the Swedish candle holders that we've collected through the years, now surrounded by pine cones that I picked up on the golf course over the past couple of days.
I love our home and feel so thankful for it. Now, if only all of our dear friends and loved one who are scattered across the globe could pop on by to enjoy it with us, my joy would be fully complete. In the meantime, I treasure the memories the things that grace my house evoke and thank God for the multitude of relationships that have graced our lives even more.