I love autumn. It reminds me of huge leaf mounds that my brothers and I would build in our front yard, and then, would kick the leaves high up in the air and dump them on each other, repeating the process over and over with sheer delight.
November brings a splash of yellows, reds, and burnt orange colors that dots the northern hemisphere where many of us live, bringing a sense of fun-filled holiday expectations and close connections.
Conversely, the fall can also bring into focus unresolved issues or losses we may have with family or loved ones, especially as we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Speaking of family, both my parents are home now with Jesus, which makes Fall bittersweet for me because their birthdays were in October, and the holidays are when I miss them most.
Just last week, I was feeling sad because it was my Mom’s birthday. Thankfully though, my sister, Katie, had created a DVD, which compiled around 100 pieces of my Mother’s art, and another DVD that presented photos of her entire life.
As I watched, I was reminded how much she loved the music, art, and other creative forms that she had shared with us through the years. I felt so thankful for her influence on me, and the way we shared our connection through creativity.
The Stories We Show And Tell
Our lives are woven together in a giant tapestry of story that reflects the heart of the Master weaver, and we share and remember those stories through creativity.
Our lives are the threads of our legacy that glisten with hope and bring context to all of our stories in history.
Our culture’s holidays are times that bring families and friends together, so that we never lose sight of traditions to celebrate our earthly and spiritual families. As we eat stuffed turkey and pumpkin pie, we are creating new stories in the experiences we have with each other. This Holiday season has the potential for the best endings, as we remember the greatest story of history, when a babe was born in a manger to bring redemption to all of our stories.
So, I wanted to share with you some ways you can creatively fill the love tanks of those around you, so that your story will have all of the elements of God’s redemptive plots and outcomes.
My family enjoyed music my entire growing up years. We watched every musical, and then sang them in the car or around the home, re-enacting each scene. We also performed music together as a family in the Church, at convalescent homes, prisons, and just about anywhere else people would listen — or not. Even today, if I begin a stanza of a show-tune, my brother, or my husband and children, can finish the song – my family could have definitely won the show, “Name That Tune”.
Music is an amazing and effective way of connecting with our story, and dreaming for a new story. I want to encourage you to share the music you love with your family and loved ones.
For instance, my husband, Kevin put together a play list just for us to listen to at night as we watch the stars in the sky and talk on our outside deck, dreaming of what’s next in our lives. These times have created amazing stories that we are now seeing fulfilled in our lives together so beautifully.
Put together a “Thanksgiving” playlist that expresses how you feel about God, your family and friends, and celebrates the good things God has given you in your life. During Christmas, we leave carols playing on our stereo at home or office throughout the day as background music. We find ourselves much more inspired to live out those stories that we are celebrating when we create the atmosphere through music.
Our family has always made creative gifts for one another, like writing a poem, a letter, a painting, or given creative coupons for back rubs, making favorite meals, or doing something special together.
I want to encourage you to think creatively “out of the box”, remembering that non-financial gifts can often communicate our story of love for others as well, or better, than a new outfit (although, clothes is definitely one of my love languages, and part of my story!).
Additionally, you can make specialized prophetic encouraging cards for each person at your family gatherings, placing them at the dinner table for your special Holiday feasts. One of my favorite creative ideas for dinner is to make up questions that spark conversation, and place them underneath each plate.
Helping people reflect on their own story through the gifts we give is a great way of creating new chapters in our stories together, which is an amazing gift in itself.
Our family has always loved to watch movies, especially those that have an amazing storyline. Movies are a great way to connect with our story, while we are watching someone else’s story unfold.
My husband, Kevin, and I were just discussing which movies we would watch together for our holiday popcorn nights. We decided that our old “favs” were the first ones we wanted to watch because of how their kingdom messages, and, often, comedic scenes are memories our family has shared for years.
We ended up spending 30 minutes reciting our favorite scenes, which have so impacted our story. We are always looking for new movies that reinforce or add to our story each year.
I want to encourage you to look for movies that propel you in your life story.
Every year, I buy a new children’s Christmas story that we read around the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. This is a tradition I created in honor of my Grandmother, who would buy us a new award-winning literature book every year for Christmas.
Children’s books are a great way to allow ourselves to dream and imagine what our lives could be like, and making assessment of the life we are living.
Story is a powerful mechanism to communicate our dreams, and identify with the testimonies of God’s goodness in our lives. Creative stories that capture our desires and emotions for connection and destiny are great ways to motivate us to living new and better stories.
Sharing Our Story With Those Who Need A New Story
I remember when I was young, and my Dad and I would go down into the streets of our city on Thanksgiving and invite in the poor or homeless to a wonderful Turkey dinner with my family. I saw Christ in their faces and I understood that the holidays aren’t just about creating memories for me, but for those who are alone or hurting.
If you are feeling alone during the holidays, think about someone you could bless, finding ways to creatively reach out, and help them see the hope of The Greatest Story Ever Told!
I love the story of the missionaries who went to Russia, and presented the Christmas story to an orphanage, whose residents had never heard the message of the Gospel.
After the story was read, the missionaries asked each child to make a little manger out of the materials they had brought. They were then instructed to paste a little felt Jesus inside, making the story complete for the children to visualize.
Looking around the room, they saw that one 5-year-old boy, Misha, had misunderstood the instructions for the project, and was putting two babies in the manger. When the missionaries went over to clarify the instructions, Misha explained that he had just added on to the story because he told baby Jesus that he had no gift to give him like the Wise Men. He went on to explain that Jesus told him that if he kept Him warm by climbing in the manger, that it would be the best gift of all.
So, little Misha explained that he had made himself out of felt, and added him next to Jesus in the manger. That’s when the missionaries realized that little Misha understood the assignment better than anyone in the room.
Our creative expressions can create stories that leave an incredible legacy with family, friends, and the world around us.
I want to encourage you to find the stories of thankfulness in your story, and find a place to bring the baby Jesus during this holiday season and beyond, creating your own story to be remembered!
Remember, you are Born to Create!