So what has your Christmas tree looked like the last 30-plus years?
Barbara: Like a lot of other trees. I mean we have lights, and I have found a few things over the years that are reflective of the Christmas story. … We have a few angels, but we have a lot of balls. We have a lot of things that the kids have made. We have a lot of just random ornaments because I haven’t been able to find ornaments that are about Christ.
Dennis: I have heard Barbara talk about this for the past 20 years. She would walk into a Hallmark store, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, and she would look at all the ornaments, and she would say, “Where is the King of kings and Lord of lords? Where is Jesus Christ in all this mass of decorating around Christmas?”
Those types of questions ultimately caused us to get away almost three years ago and begin talking and dreaming about how she could use her artistic ability and design sense—plus her theology and her love for the Scriptures and her love for families—to be able to create something that families could use here at Christmas to communicate the truth about God.
So how is your tree going to look different this year than it’s looked in past years?
Barbara: Well, this year our tree is going to be decorated with the names of Jesus because we have come out with a set of Adorenaments® this year.
Some will remember that we had Adorenaments in years past. They were also focused on the names of Christ, but were focused on children. We have recreated them this year and plan to continue recreating them in years to come with more names of Christ. This year we have a set of seven of Jesus’ names; they are the names we most commonly associate with the Christmas story: Christ the Lord, Savior, Jesus, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, and Emmanuel.
The ornaments are stamped out of metal. We wanted something that would last. We wanted something that wouldn’t break, so that a 2-year-old can help decorate the tree.
But they are also nice enough for kids who are 12-18, adults, families who don’t have children, single men and women, anyone who puts up a tree—the idea is that these will span all ages.
The tree dominates the room at Christmastime. All eyes go to the tree. It’s got lights; they’re flashing and all of that. If your tree is covered with these seven ornaments that display the name of Jesus, it sets a different tone for what the tree’s all about, doesn’t it?
Barbara: Exactly. It is the focal point in most homes. What has made me sad for years is that our trees don’t tell the story of Christ. And I just started thinking about what it would be like if Christians all over the country and all over the world, in fact, would have the names of Christ on their trees and symbols of what Christmas is all about.
It would be a statement of our faith. It would be a reminder of why we celebrate. It would teach us who the Jesus is that we love and serve and want to obey. It’s a way of bringing the truth of Christ into our Christmas celebrations.
Dennis: Each of these names is rich in meaning. I think most of us never stop to think about, “Why did God describe His Son in these terms?”
I think what’s cool about this is that the package that contains all seven names of Christ also contains a booklet that you can read aloud even to young children. We’ve done this in the past with our grandkids around some of these things Barbara has created; and it works. They sit and listen—they really do! Now, it’s not going to last more than five to seven minutes. But it’s a chance to take the name, Savior, hold it up, talk about it, read what it says about Savior; and then, go hang that name on the tree. Then, let it be a reminder of why God described His Son with that name.
Back when we had children at home, one of the issues for us was, “How can we make Christmas more about Jesus Christ? How can we do that?” Honestly, we did our best to read the Bible, to point the kids to the story and talk about Him and talk about the reason for the season; but we weren’t able to crack the code.
That’s what really excites me about what Barbara’s doing here. She’s really setting up the parents to really look good and to be effective as those who are really called to pass on the truth to their children.
These ornaments are just one of a number of resources that you have on your heart to be used around holidays or throughout the year.
Barbara: Holidays are natural gathering times for families. I remember, as a mom, wanting to do something that was meaningful on all of the holidays, including Easter and Thanksgiving and Christmas; but I was so busy and I was so tired and I was so overwhelmed that often I remember thinking, “I just don’t have the energy to go find something or to create something or to come up with an idea on my own.”
Now I’m in a season in my life where I don’t have the kids at home 24/7, and I’ve got the energy and the time to take that longing that I had as mom and create resources for families around the annual holidays that we all celebrate.
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