O Christmas Tree and O Holy Night

December 23, 2013 | My Jottings

We usually put up a pretty tall Christmas tree, but this year I wasn’t in the mood to do so much. So Sara put up our small tree and we love it. It sits on a desk to the left of our fireplace in the dining room, and can be seen from the living room, kitchen, and even from the street outside. We used only a third of our ornaments, but every possible space was covered. I told Sara, “We don’t decorate our trees, we festoon our trees!” There’s something about heavily trimming a tree that makes it look beautiful to me.

This year we didn’t put our usual tree topper on either. Sara hung a crown at the top that makes me think of this song that we sang in church years ago. And you might have to click to see the “believe” ornament there, along with the feathery cardinal in flight. Three themes that will forever be important to me: Jesus is the King of the universe and all things are in His control, and the appearance of every cardinal (live or not) helps me to believe in all His promises even if I have to wait for them.

You can click on these pictures to enlarge them if you like.


Over the years friends and family have given me many cardinal ornaments — how many can you count below? 🙂 There’s an older ornament roughly in the middle of the picture that is precious to me — when Sharon was a little girl she made it by taking the top of an orange juice can, pounding holes with nail and hammer to make an angel with outspread wings, and then she glued green eyelet around the edge.


We have carols playing every day. What have you been listening to? My favorite Christmas Carol, “O Holy Night” always makes me cry. The words below are where I usually lose it when we sing this carol.


On Christmas Eve our family will be coming over and we’ll have a meal together. Everyone brings something just like we did on Thanksgiving, so the labor is shared. We’ll have Beef Burgundy, Stuffed-baked Potatoes (recipe with photos here), roasted vegetables, panzanella, rolls and butter, and French silk pie for dessert. We’ll sing carols and maybe watch a Christmas movie too.

On Christmas morning everyone will return later in the morning after they’ve opened gifts with their families at home, and we’ll have a brunch that we’ll snack from probably all the live-long day.

I am always thinking, trying, praying about how to keep worshipful and focused at Christmastime…about how Jesus willingly and humbly left His place in heaven, came into this world as a helpless baby and then died on the cross, hated and misunderstood by most, to save people like me, who are hopeless without Him.

I pray that your Christmas is full of His peace and His joy….


  1. Ganeida says:

    As you know I am conflicted about this holiday ~ but we are recognizing it this year, albeit a little reluctantly ~ & not on the day itself as Cait is working. We will have our presents this evening & a meal tomorrow ~ all very quiet. It looks like being a scorcher ~ & wet ~ which is an uggy combination. 🙁 May your own day be joyous & blessed. xoxo

  2. connie says:

    Merry Christmas Julie! I pray your holiday is restful, peaceful and saturated with His presence. And a whole lot of fun!!

  3. Just Julie says:

    Ganeida and Connie — thank you for your good wishes and prayers. Whatever we do at Christmas, may we be a blessing to Him somehow. Much love to you both, friends far away…. xoxo

  4. Kay in Cornwall, UK says:

    Dear Julie & Michael,
    Alan & I would like to wish you a very happy Christmas with your loved ones. We hope it will be a fun, relaxing and refreshing time for you all.
    Thank you for all the wonderful blog posts that you have made over the last twelve months: they are so very much appreciated.
    P.S. We are staying with Louisa & David in Pontypridd over Christmas and will be returning home on the day after Boxing Day. This is the first time that either of us has spent Christmas out of our home county!

  5. Just Julie says:

    Your Christmas sounds wonderful to me, Kay. I wish you and Alan a very blessed time with Louisa and David. And your friendship has blessed me more than I can ever really convey — you’re a true, trusted friend. God rest you and keep you both… xoxo

  6. Ember says:

    I really love “O Holy Night”.

    As for trees (and “O Christmas Tree”), I saw a photo of a loopy cat on Facebook with the caption:
    “O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
    Your ornaments are history.”

    It does rather stick in the mind . . .

    May you find oases of contentment peace and joy in every month, week, day and hour of 2014. xxx

  7. Sam says:

    O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas carol, too. My mom and I usually tear up when we sing it at church. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

  8. Just Julie says:

    Ember and Sam, it seems like that carol strikes a deep chord in many of us. Thank you for sharing here… And may God give you both a blessed and peaceful 2014. xoxo

  9. Ginny says:

    Home safe after a white knuckle trip most of the way to Rochester for Christmas…white knuckle in more ways than just driving… I was headed home for the “New Normal Clark Christmas”. Dad is Home with the Lord, our home of over 50 years belongs to another family and we would not be gathering around the huge oak table, which was sold to a lovely grandma now raising her grandchildren, or open our gifts in front of the fireplace in the family room. I really wanted to skip Christmas this year. Preferred to not put on a happy face for everyone and drag the train of it’s alllll goooood! But I did it anyway. And I was not alone. My family members each had their new normal to deal with and somehow when you do it as a family, it is ok. Hopefully the people in our old home made new memories and that huge oak table held an over abundance of delicious food. Ya know, it IS all good. I have family, friends, provisions and a Father who thinks I am the toots!
    I am ready for 2014!

  10. Just Julie says:

    I always love your comments Ginny. Your perspective truly helps. Your family members are so blessed to have you among them. God bless you and Pete in 2014, my dear friend… xoxo

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.