Tag Archives: Christmas

Bring On The Jolly…

Posted by Brandi Wilson

I purchased my first Christmas gift last night… don’t be jealous (and I’ve never been known as an early shopper).  Having one gift down actually made me feel quite on top of things even though it’s already November 16th. Where did August, September, and October go?

When I think about our Leading and Loving It community one of the things I love most is our ability and our openness to learn from one another.  So today let’s talk Christmas because we LOVE some Christmas at our house.  In fact I think the only person who decorates before me is Lori!

I’d love to hear any tips you all have for successfully maneuvering the Holidays.  What does the ministry side of Christmas look like to your family? What is your favorite part of the Holidays?

Cross Point really cuts out most evening meetings the month of December.  Pete and I host the board and elder Christmas party and always love attending our whole staff Christmas party (which I wish I had room to host because that’s one of my favorite groups of folks).  As far as services go, the campus I attend hosts 3 Christmas Eve services… and the boys and I meet my husband to attend one together.

There are lots of little things that change in the month of December but I think if I had to narrow it down to one thing that really works best for us it would be the strict parameters we put on our calendar.  We focus on keeping our evenings as free as possible from activities that would divide up family members and really focus on getting in some great quality time together.  We can’t accept invitations to all the parties or attend every event.  And yes, that even means sometimes we’re turning down friends!  We work on keeping very clear boundaries throughout the year, but really tighten those boundaries even more during the Holidays. Our children will be out of the house before we know it and we’ll be able to hit every Holiday function… but until then we really want to make sure Team Wilson knows the true reason we’re celebrating and allow them to have some wonderful experiences to create memories for years to come!

So that’s what works for my family… we’d love to hear what tricks and traditions work for yours!

Welcome to December…

In case you haven’t noticed today is December 1st… isn’t that just crazy?  My family loves Christmas.  We light up the whole, and I mean WHOLE, house.  We eat peanut butter balls and sugar cookies until we’re sick.  We wrap gifts and make ornaments.  Our holiday season probably looks a lot like yours.

But let’s face it… as much as we all love Christmas it’s also a crazy busy time in ministry.  Programs, staff parties, year end meetings, the list goes on and on.  Pete and I are very purposeful about creating memories and traditions with our family.  We don’t want our kids to just remember the meetings… we want them to realize why we passionately serve God, we want to help create spiritual virtues in their lives.

One of our favorite family Christmas traditions is the Jesse Tree.  Jesse Tree is a way of celebrating the Advent season that addresses, in particular, how the Old Testament stories all point to the coming of Christ. It’s based on Isaiah 11:1-2.

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him–
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD”

We use a very simple Jesse Tree curriculum and I’ll be honest, we don’t fit in everyday, but we do try to do it most days. Last year we used paper ornaments the boys cut out and colored, but this year the moms’ group I lead decided to do a Jesse Tree ornament swap.

The swap was easy, everyone chose a day and made 26 of the same ornament…. I was in charge of Bethlehem.

Then we got together and swapped…

It was so easy and so much fun.  I’m so excited about the unique collection of ornaments I received.

That’s one way our family slows down during this busy ministry season to focus on the Main Thing.

What does your family do to help maintain your focus during the Christmas season?  I’d love to hear some of your family traditions.


dsc_4953This is my favorite Christmas tradition:

Every year on Christmas Eve, we sit down with a plain glass ornament and a paint pen. Then we start talking about all of the blessing God has given us during that year. We write the year and then start writing all of those blessings on the ornament. We quickly run out of room, but we make sure to squeeze in as much as we can. This year we add our 13th Blessing Ornament. I look forward to the day I add the 60th. 🙂


It is a great opportunity to pause, reflect, and be grateful. To laugh about great things that have happened in the last year. To hear what the highlights were for Emma and Ethan. To be thankful that even in the hard times, God was always there for us … moving and working.


Every year we get to read and remember:

-how God saved Jud’s mom after a massive heart attack.

-our first little house that we bought

-how God pulled us through after my miscarriage

-Jud getting his first book published

-the kids’ first steps

-special family trips

-our anniversaries

-the different ministries we’ve done 


And the list goes on. I love it!


So, that’s my favorite tradition … what’s yours?


One of the things that came up last week was difficulty celebrating the holidays. Sometimes it can be hard to get some family time on the holidays, especially Christmas and Easter, when you lead in a church. 


Solution given by one of the very smart wives: Don’t worry about celebrating holidays on the actual days, just celebrate them.


My family already does this at Easter. We do our egg hunt, Easter baskets, egg dying, and Easter dinner all on Good Friday. Since we don’t have services that day, but LOTS Saturday and Sunday, it is a free day for us. We used to celebrate on Sunday like most other families. Jud would come home after preaching 8 services, and I would stick a basket full of eggs in his hand and send him out back to hide them. He was so tired that he pretty much just threw them wherever and didn’t worry too much about hiding them. Once those were found, he would head upstairs to crash for the rest of the day. Leaving the kids and I on our own to celebrate.


So a few years ago, I moved everything to Friday. It is wonderful. We dress the kids up in their Easter outfits. We all have fun and spend the whole day together. We top it off with an Easter dinner on the town somewhere. Eating out is always my idea of a celebration.


For some reason, it never occurred to me to do Christmas the same way. So, starting this December, we will have a new Wilhite family tradition. We will do all of our family Christmas before all of the Christmas Eve services start the 23rd and 24th. Imagine, a Christmas morning with a Daddy who can stay awake long enough to actually watch his kids play with their Christmas gifts. That will be so great!


What are some great secrets and family traditions that have helped you really make the most of the holidays?