12 Surefire Methods For Getting In The Christmas Mood

There are exactly two weeks until Christmas Day (for those of you who are behind on your gift-buying, you’re welcome for that bone-chilling, adrenaline-kicking, stroke-inducing reminder).

For some reason, I’ve had a bit of a hard time getting into The Christmas Mood. I don’t know what it is, but I only really managed to snag the Christmas cheer this past week. Today, for anyone else whose spirits might be flagging, I’m going to share 12 surefire methods that are sure, beyond all shadows of any doubts, to get you in The Christmas Mood (because they’re basically science).

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Oh, look, a red snowflake. How festive.

1. Wrap a present. (Note: if you don’t have any gifts for wrapping yet, wrapping a present to get into The Christmas Mood will not exactly work since it’s not, strictly speaking, possible to wrap a gift you don’t have–unless of course you wrap a metaphorical gift, in which case, use your imagination and make it look real good). For those who struggle with gift wrapping, you may refer to this incredibly therapeutic post from Penprints a couple years ago (you’re welcome in advance).

2. Take a drive after dark to see the Christmas lights. It is so fun and cheering to admire the lights that so many enterprising, Already In The Mood people have taken the time to decorate with. So, don’t be afraid to go out after dark; instead, take advantage of any opportunity to see the lights.

3. Invent your very own festive playlist. This one is new to me this year, but I’ve got a specialized playlist for Christmas on Spotify. I encourage you to do something similar because there’s nothing quite like music to usher in Mood and Anticipation. Since the beginning of December, I have added at least one song a day to my playlist (you can listen to it here; for cute and fun, I recommend “Hey Moon“; for nostalgic, go for “To Be With You“; for haunting and hopeful, “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day” and “End of Exile“; for abstract and reminiscent of the tender tone of some of the O.T. prophecies, I can’t recommend “I Will Find a Way” enough).

4. Decorate with red and green and garland and lights and nativities. If I need to explain this one, well, I’m sorry for your childhood (or lack thereof).

5. Say “Merry Christmas!”, especially to strangers. You can’t use “Merry Christmas” more than five times without feeling The Mood come upon you. So say it.

6. Take quiet time away to reflect on Jesus and His birth and the hope of Him. Hope is so essential to the Christian life, and this time of year especially will be hollow if we don’t take time to recognize and reflect on what it meant back then and what it means today.

7. … And respond with joy. C. S. Lewis said that joy is not complete until it’s expressed. SO, when you’re thinking about everything Jesus’s coming means and the sheer joy of it hits you, express it. Sing. Extol God. Pray. Tell someone. Smile. The explosive joy of God is sometimes too much to explain or share, but try to communicate it anyway–to God, to your family, to your co-workers, to everyone.

8. Snuff some peppermint essential oil. Trust me, this is pure genius from yours truly. Bring up a chair, my padawans. Essential oils aren’t just about wellness.

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Essential oils are about Mood, too. So, go out to your local Store and pick up some peppermint essential oil. There are a few ways to benefit from the fragrance. Put some in a diffuser necklace for easy access. During a hot shower, drip 2-3 drops on the shower floor. If you have a diffuser in your home, put a few drops in there and enjoy. It’s like inhaling candy canes and sleigh bells.

9. Following along the line of sniffing Christmas, light up a Christmas tree scented candle. Even if you have a live Christmas tree, there is never enough Christmas tree smell, and candles add to ambiance and Good Moods with the longer nights of winter. Plus, matches never get old. (If any of you thought we were going to make it through this post without a reference to fire, you were sorely mistaken.)

10. Write/design a Christmas card or two or three. This is good for you and good for the person(s) you send the card to.

11. Watch a Christmas movie. While Charles Dickens did not invent Christmas (obviously), The Man Who Invented Christmas looks like it would be a fun, festive one to go see in theaters this year. Other popular Christmas movies aka: the classics we watch almost every year at my house include: The Nativity Story, Elf, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (basically a Christmas movie), The Very First Noel, and The Muppet’s Christmas Carol.

12. Some sort of advent. There are so many options. Come Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp is one that my mom is enjoying this year, but there are countless other resources available online and in bookstores.

And that is the most comprehensive, exhaustive, complete, surefire of all surefire lists of Christmas-y things to do you’ll find on the internet nevermind that Christmas cookies, caroling, jingle bells, Christmas pageants, snowmen, and like 300 other Christmas things were never mentioned.

What do you do to get in The Christmas Mood? Any favorite traditions? What is something new you’d like to try this season?

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – To all you lovely people who took the time to leave comments these last couple of months: I shall enjoy re-reading your thoughts as I finally reply to all your wonderful comments this week. I love getting and reading your comments, but for reasons unknown, I never reply to them in a timely fashion. I know. I’m a very bad blogger person.

I shall make it right.

P.P.S. – Just another friendly, give-you-heart-spasms reminder: two weeks until Christmas.

Advent: Christ the Lord

We come to the final post in this advent series. We’ve gone from prophets to angels to shepherds to Mary this advent season, and now we come to the One we’ve been waiting for, Christ the Lord.

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He’s more than just a tiny baby. We can’t put Him in a box for Christmas as an adorable little boy because all that He Is is infinite. We can’t confine our understanding of Him to just the baby the angels spoke of and the shepherds searched for because Jesus has never been just anything. He Has Been for all eternities past, and He Will Be for future eternities.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets. He’s the King of the angels. He’s the Savior of the shepherds.

Long before the power of the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. All things were made through Him, and in Him is life. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the triune God, the second Person in the Trinity. He’s been intimately involved in the history of the world since time began, and He’s been known by many names.


The Almighty.


The Most High.

His coming was foretold for millennia, from the protoevangelium in Genesis 3:15 right up to when Gabriel told Mary she would bear the Son of the Most High. There was so much expectation and longing and hope tied to His first coming. Earth and Heaven waited for the fullness of time to come, and when it came, they rejoiced. Zechariah and Elizabeth. Mary and Joseph. Angels. Shepherds. Simeon. Anna. Magi.

The Everlasting God took on the fragile, mortal flesh of man. The King of Heaven stepped down from His throne. The Ancient of Days chose to become a baby.

Jesus came here knowing that, in just over three decades, He would die here. He didn’t have to come; He’s never owed mortal man anything. But He came anyway. He came to reconcile His spiritually dead elect back to Himself. He knew how steep the cost would be to save the souls of men, but being loving beyond imagination, He paid that price.

Paul says this in Philippians 2: “Have this in mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus showed His supremacy and preeminence when He rose from the dead after three days in the grave. Then, He ascended back to Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the throne of God.

He is the living One. He is the holy One. He is the true One. The Firstborn of the dead. The Faithful Witness. The Ruler of the Kings on earth.

I’m reminding you all of this because I needed to be reminded of it. I needed to remember that He’s far more than I usually think, especially around this time of year. I fall into the rut of “Baby Jesus”, and I forget all that He Is. He’s so far beyond my understanding that I won’t ever comprehend Him, but I intend to try because He’s Christ the Lord.

So that’s what I encourage you to reflect on now.

What about you? How do you typically view Jesus? Do you ever struggle to remember Who and what He Is? How does your view of Christ impact how you celebrate Christmas?


Advent: Of Love and Mary

Christmas is days away, and as you may have noticed because this post is late, I don’t have all my eggs in a row (or maybe it’s supposed to be ducks in row…). So this post is a few days late. Regardless, we have come to the fourth and final week of advent. So far, we’ve looked at the prophets, angels, and the shepherds. This week we’re going to look at Mary.

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Mary has been portrayed a number of ways in books, movies, and plays, but she’s often just, well, she’s just Mary. We often forget that something was special about Mary.

Imagine this:

You are Mary, favored one of God, of the Most High.

You’re young, just a teenage girl, and you find yourself holding a baby in a chilly cave in Bethlehem. He’s beautiful. Perfectly formed fingers and toes. A patch of dark hair on his head. A tiny chest that steadily rises and falls. Bright, clear eyes that peer up at you. He’s breathtaking, this baby boy of yours.

You glance at Joseph to see that he sleeps. You’re glad he can finally rest; these last few months, these last few days, these last few hours have been so much. And the Most High has brought you to this. You look back down at your baby. His eyes are heavy too. You rock back and forth a little, humming softly.

You don’t think you’ll ever forget the day the angel came to you. It’s hard to believe it’s already been nine months. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been nine months. The angel’s words echo through your memory. “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you.” You remember the initial fear. You remember the confusion and awe. The wonderful things he said of the baby you would bear. Great. Holy. His kingdom will never end.

The Most High, the God you worshipped, called you to be His Son’s mother, and while you didn’t understand, you believed.

For the first few days, you could only think of the privilege and honor, and you puzzled over why He’d chosen you of all the Jewish girls. Favored one. But why? You weren’t exceptionally pretty. You didn’t have any special talents. You honored your parents, loved your siblings, and tried to keep the Law of the Most High, but you couldn’t see how those things made you favored.

But then you started wondering about how to tell your parents and Joseph. Joseph. Thoughts of divorce and stoning made it hard to sleep. And even if he didn’t accuse you of adultery, you would be shunned. Always. A baby outside of marriage would always stain you, and gossip would only make things worse.

But looking back over the last nine months, you can see how the Most High moved. When you visited Elizabeth and learned of Zechariah’s encounter with an angel of the Most High. When Joseph upheld your betrothal and told you of the angel sent to him from the Most High. The safe journey to Bethlehem. The stable to stay in. The delivery of a healthy baby boy. The Most High provided.

You wonder what it will be like, raising the Son of the Most High. You’ve worried if you’ll be a good mother, or if maybe you’ll do it all wrong. Shouldn’t the Most High have chosen another girl? Someone wiser? Someone kinder? Someone better? But after the last several months of carrying this baby inside, you find you love Him more than you thought possible, and you’re thankful that the Most High chose you even though you aren’t the wisest and best.

You kiss His forehead and set him in the manger Joseph dragged over. He hardly stirs. You may be young and still a little frightened, but you intend to be the best mother you can because you love Him.

In the remaining days before Christmas (and even the days after it), I encourage you to look at Mary’s response to Gabriel’s words.

We don’t know a lot about Mary, but her willingness to obey and serve God is quite clear. So often, we are willing to serve God in comfortable ways, but if He calls us into something different and, heaven forbid, hard, we backpedal and ask question after question. God called Mary to a thing that drastically changed her life in many difficult ways, but Mary asked only one question. One question. And then she basically said, “I’m God’s servant; let’s do this.”

I don’t know about you, but I want a heart like that—a heart that loves and obeys. So, think about Mary’s response and look back over some of your own responses to God. Are you His willing servant? Do you love Him enough to serve Him? Find a way to serve Him that’s outside of your comfort zone.

Some passages to look at are: Luke 1:26-38, Luke 1:39-45, Luke 1:46-56, and John 14:15.

Let’s drop a gift-wrapped bookend on this post.

What do you think? What are some hard things God has called you to? How do you respond to God? What strikes you about Mary? What will you do to serve Him in a way that stretches you?

Advent: Joy and the Shepherds

It’s almost to the middle of December, and Christmas is nearly here. And we’ve come to the third week of advent. First, there were was hope and prophets, and then peace and angels. This week is about joy and shepherds.


In contrast to the enigmatic prophets and the eonian angels, shepherds are incredibly… earthy.

Imagine this:

You are a shepherd.

Shepherding used to be a noble business, it really did. You remember the stories of the shepherds in the time of the Patriarchs and famous King David; he was a shepherd before he was a king, before Adonai had him anointed by a prophet. But shepherding isn’t like that anymore. Heavens, no. A lot of things have changed since the days of David.

First of all, there’s other people. Other Jews don’t like you because you’re a shepherd. You’re treated like a second class citizen, like you’re less than a person. When it comes to society, you are on the very bottom, considered quite nearly valueless.

Then there’s the sheep themselves. Brainless is the word that typically comes to mind. Or witless. Or simply dumb… but in an oddly endearing way.

Your life is solitary. Most of the time, it’s just you and the sheep on the hills outside of Bethlehem, the hometown of the shepherd-king David. The years drag by, and most of them are the same. The rams get the same bad attitude when autumn brings rutting season, then there’s mating season, then a cold winter, then the ewes have their lambs come spring, and then there’s shearing, and the summer is spent teaching the lambs the sound of your voice, and then rutting season comes again. Not much changes for you. Waiting for the next season, waiting for the next predator to fight off, waiting for a lost sheep to find, waiting, waiting, waiting.

You’ve heard of the coming Messiah, the One that Adonai’s sending. He’ll be a Savior, The Savior. The other Jews are eager for the Messiah, but from what you’ve heard from fragments of stories and prophecies, He’s not coming for you. He’s not coming for another shepherd after His own heart. He’ll set Israel free from its oppressors, but that won’t change much for you. You’ll still be shunned by your own people. You’ll still be alone with the sheep.

Another year passes, and before you know it, winter has come. One night, you’re laying with your back against a rock. Your crook leans against the rock, and some of the ewes have piled in around you. Your flock rests, and a few hills over, you can see another shepherd’s flock.

And then there’s a flash of blinding light. You scramble to your feet, sheep scattering as you reach for your crook. It’s an angel. You know it as soon as you set eyes on him. He’s tall with a shining face, and he’s absolutely terrifying. He must be an angel. You start to back away, holding your crook with shaking hands. There’s so much light and dazzling glory. Perhaps you should follow your sheep as they run away.

But then the angel speaks. “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.”

Don’t be afraid, good news, something about joy and all people. You don’t run, but your shaky legs give out and you fall to your knees. The angel continues. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

You blink, and suddenly, there are thousands with the first angel, a multitude of angels saying like thunder, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”

And then the angels leave as quickly as they came, and you are alone. The air is startlingly cold and quiet. It starts to sink in. A Savior is born, just a few hills away in Bethlehem. Good news of great joy for all people. Unto you is born this day. This will be the sign for you. You will find a baby.

Another shepherd skids to a stop beside you. “Did you see them? Did you see the angels?”

You nod and use your crook to shove yourself to your feet. You’re not as young as you once were, but you take off at a run.

“Where are you going?” the other shepherd shouts after you.

“To Bethlehem!” you yell back. “To see this thing that has happened.” You trip and tumble down a hill, but then you’re up and running again. You come to the top of the next hill and throw your arms wide, jubilant. “Hallelujah!” And then you’re off, sandals slapping the earth. You pass another shepherd who is still wonderstruck from the angels. “Come with me to Bethlehem!” you shout to him.

The angels were right. This is good news, and it’s brought such great joy. You were wrong when you thought the Savior wasn’t coming for you. For all people. And all people includes you.

Great joy.

People have come up with lots of theories to explain why God sent a multitude of His host to some shepherds who were the lowest of the low. Personally, I think the angel put it quite eloquently when he said the news was for all people. Our response to the good news of Christ should be the same as the shepherds’: joy. And they’re joy isn’t something they kept to themselves; they went and “made known the saying that had been told them”

This week, I encourage you to look for ways to be joyful in light of the coming of Christ and what it means for all people. Praise God; give Him glory. And then go tell someone.

Some passages to look at are: Luke 2:8-20, John 3:16-18, Philippians 4:4, and 1 Thessalonians 5:16.

Let’s drop a snowy bookend on this post.

What do you think about the shepherds? Why do you think that God sent angels to a group of misfits and outcasts? How will you be intentionally joyful this week? What do you think we can learn from the shepherds?

Advent: Of Peace and Angels

Apparently, these advent posts (which were supposed to be a Sunday thing) are more of a Sunday or Monday thing. Alas, it turns out that if it comes down to taking a nap or working on blog posts, I’ll take a nap. What can I say.

Anyway, the second week of advent has begun! Last week was about hope and the prophets, and this week is about peace and angels.


Angels are the subject of much interest; most humans find these spiritual beings to be unendingly curious and fascinating. In Hebrew, they are mal’ak; in Greek, they are aggelos. Both words mean messenger.

Imagine this:

You are angel, a servant of God, a servant of the Almighty. You were created by the Almighty, and your home is at His throne in heaven. You worship Him and His bidding, whatever it may be, without hesitation or question. In fact, the idea of questioning the Almighty never entered your mind until that fateful day when Lucifer and his followers rebelled and were thrown from heaven (something more on that later).

You watched the Almighty speak light into existence. You saw Him craft the earth. You could see the special interest He showed in that last creation, the one He called Man. And you saw Man fall. You heard the command from the Almighty’s lips for one your brothers, one of the cherubim, to stand guard over the Garden of Eden.

You were there when the Almighty sent two of your brothers to Sodom and Gomorrah. You were there when the angel of death went out from the throne room to strike Egypt. You were there when a coal was given to Isaiah to purify his lips so that he could speak for the Almighty. You were there when orders went out for Gabriel to appear to Daniel, and you were there when Michael was sent to help fight the kings of Persia.

You’ve seen the history of the world unfold within the palm of the Almighty’s hand. His plan is so deep in the story of earth that you can’t even see all of it. You know it’s a war, this fight that persists between Lucifer and the Almighty; you’ve fought in it. But you can hardly believe that Lucifer actually thinks he can win because he is so largely beside the point, a dim spark next to the inferno of power and glory and God that is the Almighty.

You remember those first words spoken about the Son. “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” As the centuries went by and prophets were called and served and died for the Almighty, more words about the Son, your Lord and King, were spoken. And you worshipped the Almighty, and you waited.

And then the fullness of time came.

You were face down before the throne, telling of the wonders of the Almighty, when Gabriel was sent to a particular man named Zechariah who had married a daughter of Aaron. And shortly thereafter, Gabriel was sent out again, this time to that special girl Mary, whom the Almighty favored. And then another of your brothers was sent to Mary’s betrothed, Joseph.

Now, mere months later, it’s come to the birth of Jesus. You’re waiting with a host of heaven to deliver a message to a group of shepherds who are keeping watch over their flocks by night. The message is about the Son of the Almighty, the King now wrapped in swaddling clothes, and of the peace He gives to those with whom He is pleased.

Peace and angels.

It seems like an unlikely combination. If it weren’t for this time of year, I doubt that we’d ever put the two together, but I do believe they belong together in a way. The peace of God doesn’t mean that there is no strife and suffering. The peace of God means that there is supernatural tranquility, fullness, hope, and even joy in the midst of strife and suffering. This kind of peace comes from a large view of God, a deep understanding of Him. Oftentimes, we humans question God and His plans and His words; we don’t understand all that He Is. I think angels get it better than we do. I can’t say that they fully understand God (I doubt they do), but I can say that they worship God as God.

This week, I encourage you study and reflect on the Almighty because I believe that true peace follows the ardent pursuit of God.

Some passages to look at are: Job 36:26-33, Job 37:22-24, Job 38-41, Psalm 20:7-8, Psalm 33:9, Luke 1:5-25, Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-24 (the O.T. passages are for study and reflection on God, and the N.T. passages are the appearances of angels before Christ was born. Again, this list is not exhaustive.).

Let’s throw a garland adorned bookend on this post.

I hope that this has been helpful as we continue with advent.

What about you? What are your thoughts on peace and angels? Should the two ever be put together? What do you think of angels in general? What do you think peace is?