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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Filtering by Tag: Christmas

A View from the Kitchen: Why your pile of pots and pans matters this Christmas

"It must be nice to be a man," I told Ryan in the aftermath of our family Christmas. We'd shared our traditional dinner and unwrapped gifts with the children before leaving Toronto for the holidays. All the responsibilities for cooking and shopping, cleaning and wrapping had, like most years, fallen almost entirely on my shoulders. And goodness, can I really complain about that? I mean, if Ryan works hard enough to bring home the bacon, can't I at least cook it?

But to what degree I cook it with a charitable spirit is always up for grabs.Though Christmas should traditionally be a season of joy, in truth, I can battle with resentment about the extra domestic work it requires of me.

And this is why I wrote my most recent post at her.meneutics. If you've been reading here for any length of time, you know well enough that I don't often write about the areas of my life over which I feel mastery or control. (And by the way, I'm not even sure what those areas are.) Instead, I write in order to preach the sermons I most need to hear. I write as a way of living into what I know to be true but have a harder time absorbing.

This is true of my most recent post, which I hope you'll read and find as a source of encouragement for your kitchen work this Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Home for Christmas

Photo Credit

Tomorrow morning, we'll wake up in hotel room.

Can you unpack the magic of Christmas from a suitcase? We've no tree, no decorations. Tomorrow morning, I'll be lucky to find hot coffee in the deserted lobby.

We could've spent Christmas at home. But where exactly is that, home?

Toronto, in the house we've rented only only six short months?

Elmhurst, in the house we still own but whose furniture we no longer recognize?

At church tonight, two readers retell the story of Mary and Joseph. They'd traveled in the ninth month of Mary's pregnancy for a census. Their journey, lasting almost a week, threaded them through wilderness, leading them further away from the familiar. From home.

Without a home, who can't help but feel frightened?

As a mother, I feel the urgency of this making of home. Home, the familiar somewhere whose door you throw open and breathe in belonging.

Tomorrow morning, we'll wake up in hotel room.

And maybe it's the best place to be. Maybe it's Christmas morning that we're meant to understand how this spinning globe will never be home. No house, no city, no familiar four walls have the power to breathe in belonging.

Only Jesus does that.

I make my home in Him and find I'm never a stranger.

How-to Friday (um, Saturday): Celebrate Advent

(Yes, this post was meant for yesterday, but you'll remember that I spent most of yesterday in the hospital with Colin. We're home now, thank God! And many thanks for your prayers.) The luminous season of Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Traditionally, Advent is celebrated with the lighting of five candles, each candle symbolic of some facet of the Christmas story. Each Sunday before Christmas, a new candle is lit. On Christmas Eve, the Christ candle is lit.  And candles for children are magical! Advent can become a way for you and your family to make your Christmas season more meaningful, more Christ-centered.  Spend the month of December considering the mystery of Christ coming to earth.

Read more here to find out some of the history and traditional practices of Advent.

Here's a great resource to recommend if you'd like to celebrate Advent this year with your children. Each day includes a Scripture reading, a devotional thought, a point of action, and a full-color ornament to print.

And here are some Advent candles I've pinned that you can easily make with greenery in your backyard or things you have on hand at home.

Finally, consider buying this beautifully illustrated book. Read it every day leading up to Christmas, and your children will have memorized the Christmas story.

And this month on the blog, you can look forward to meditations called, "Make Ready." We'll consider the mystery of Christmas and how we can each make ready our hearts to prepare for Jesus' coming.