Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Most Precious Gift of All

To say that I love Christmas would be an understatement. It's by far my favorite time of year! I love the fun, laughter-filled family get-togethers that come along with the season, the Christmas decorations that light up the neighborhood at nighttime, the beautiful carols and the scrumptious food, the classic movies that make me feel nostalgic for Christmases gone by, the coziness of opening gifts on Christmas morning with Christmas music playing softly in the background, the excitement and anticipation of Christmas Eve... the list goes on and on.
But most of all, I love celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, all those centuries ago in the little town of Bethlehem. And yet, wouldn't you agree that sometimes it can be so easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the Christmas season? I find that I can get so caught up in the busyness of the season that I'm distracted from the very thing that Christmas is all about: God sending His one and only Son--God Himself!--into this world to take away our sins, even though we don't and never will deserve it. It's mind-blowing when you try to comprehend that, isn't it? Jesus could have chosen to be born in a palace to a privileged family, but He didn't. Instead, He humbled Himself and chose to be born to a poor, ordinary couple, in a manger in a stable on a silent, holy night. Really, He could have left us on our own, but He went to such great lengths to save us, all because He loves us so very much.

And because of Jesus, we have hope, peace, and joy in our hearts. Because of Him, we have the most wonderful friend we could ever ask for, Who loves us unconditionally despite our many flaws. Because of Him, we have forgiveness, freedom, and the promise of spending eternity in heaven, if only we trust and believe in Him. Because of Him, we have all that we could ever wish for and more. As wonderful as all the things I listed at the beginning of this post are, they pale in comparison to all the gifts that we've received through Jesus Christ. He is the true beauty and miracle of Christmas!
So in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of last-minute Christmas preparations, let's not forget to keep our eyes on Jesus and celebrate His birth. Let's be filled with wonder, awe, and joy when we think of the baby Jesus lying in a manger, born to suffer so that we may have life. He truly is the greatest, most precious gift of all!

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." 
- Luke 2:10-11

Wishing you a very merry Christmas,

*Photos found via Pinterest

Friday, December 16, 2016

Emma Woodhouse's Wardrobe

Hi everyone! I've had this post sitting in my drafts for a while, and since today is Jane Austen's birthday, I thought that now would be the perfect time to publish it! I'm pretty excited about this post, too, because it's all about one of my favorite Jane Austen movies, and really one of my favorite movies in general: the 2009 version of Emma!

If you've ever seen this movie, then you've probably noticed that Emma has a rather stunning wardrobe. Seriously, she has soo many gorgeous dresses, with the prettiest shawls, spencers, and hats to match. So, I thought it would be fun to put together a list of my favorite outfits that Emma wears throughout the film! I've narrowed it down to just eight, so keep scrolling for some lovely Regency-era fashions. 😊

8.) This Brown Floral Dress

First up is this dress that Emma wears to the strawberry picking outing at Donwell Abbey. Now, at first I didn't know whether I wanted to include it on my list of favorites or not, but it's really grown on me! I really like the muted color palette and the overall simplicity of the dress. Also, can we just talk about how adorable Emma and Mr. Knightley are in this picture, with their coordinating outfits? ;)

7.) This Green Dress with Red Trimmings

Another very simple dress, but yet it's still so pretty! I love that shade of green, and the red ribbons and bows are so adorable. Together the two colors look quite Christmassy, which is another reason why I like this dress. :)

6.) This Fall-like Floral Dress

Ahh, this dress. :) I just adore the warm autumn-y colors on it, and it looks lovely with the orange shawl that Emma has paired with it.

5.) This Pink Afternoon Dress

Next up is this dress that Emma wears when the Eltons come over for a visit. (Mr. Elton's face in this picture is so funny. He sure seems to be enjoying himself, doesn't he? Haha. :P) Anyways, back to the dress! I looove the color of it, first of all, and the matching satin ribbons and the chemisette that Emma's wearing with it are oh-so-pretty.

 4.) This Green and Red Gown

This dress that Emma wears when Mr. Knightley, the Westons, and Mr. and Mrs. John Knightley come over for Christmas is so very lovely. The red brocade fabric (I believe that's what it's called...), the silky green sash, the beautiful gold detailing at the hem... it's just an overall gorgeous gown!

3.) Emma's Christmas Dress

Oh, this dress is so beautiful! First of all, the fabric looks very nice; you can't really tell in this picture, but it has some sort of texture and pattern to it. I also really like the gold sash, and those puffy sleeves are adorable! Can I have this dress to wear on Christmas, please? ;)

2.) This Yellow Floral Dress

This is such a sweet dress! Emma wears it quite a lot throughout the film, but most notably when Mr. Knightley proposes (squee!). I love the pastel yellow hue and the pretty floral pattern. :)

1.) Emma's Ballgown

And last but certainly not least, Emma's absolutely beautiful ballgown! Gahhh, this dress is so adorable and shimmery and feminine! I love the shade of pink, the lace detailing, the sheer overlay on the sleeves... It's a stunning gown, and definitely my very favorite of all of Emma's dresses! 💕

Which of Emma's dresses is your favorite?


Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Favorite Instrumental Christmas Songs

Since it's now only ten days until Christmas (wait WHAT?!), I figured I should probably get around to the Christmassy blog posts I've been wanting to do before it's too late. So today I've put together a quick little post about my favorite instrumental Christmas music! Because as much as I love all of the traditional carols and hymns, vintage Christmas tunes, and modern songs, it can be nice sometimes to just have some festive instrumental music playing in the background, ya know?

A Charlie Brown Christmas

This is such a lovely album. It's just! (Wow, I'm great at describing things, aren't I?) I've been listening to this one a lot lately while doing schoolwork. My favorite track would have to be "Skating," but seriously, every single song on this album is great! (I'd really like to have this one on vinyl...)

Christmas by Mannheim Steamroller

This album is just plain awesome. It's the perfect combination of lively, upbeat songs and slower, peaceful carols. Mannheim Steamroller really does have some wonderful Christmas music!

Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson

I just love this version of Sleigh Ride! I guess technically it's more of a winter song rather than a Christmas one, but I've always associated it with the Christmas season. :)

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by Casting Crowns

This rendition of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" by the Christian group Casting Crowns is absolutely beautiful! I love the violin and the piano in it, and just everything about it, really. IT'S AMAZING.

Do you have any favorite instrumental Christmas songs/albums?

Yours truly,

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Very Merry Tag!

So the lovely Abby from Lavender Spring is doing a Christmas advent calendar event over on her blog, where she'll be posting a Christmas-related post each day leading up to Christmas (you go, girl!). I'm so excited, and today I'm here to answer her questions from her Very Merry tag! Here's the link to the questions so that you can fill them out yourself, and join in on the Christmassy fun at Abby's delightful blog! :)

And now, onto my answers!

1.) Does it snow where you live around Christmas? (If it doesn't, you have my sincere sympathy.) How much? Any special snowy Christmas stories?

White Christmases don't happen very often where I live; we normally have to wait until January or February for snowy days to arrive. But I do remember once, about six years ago, when it snowed pretty heavily on Christmas day. That was a happy Christmas! For now, I'll just be dreaming of, and praying for, another white Christmas this year. 

2.) Do you get a real tree or a fake tree?

My family used to always put up a fake tree, but since last Christmas, we've gotten a real tree instead. And I have to say that I like having a real one much better! They just look a lot nicer and smell absolutely wonderful. And isn't there something so neat about going to a Christmas tree lot and searching for just the right tree?

3.) What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Let's see...I love White Christmas, because it's such a fun, lighthearted movie, full of so many catchy songs and pretty costumes. But I also really like It's A Wonderful Life, even though I've only seen it once or twice, because it's such a beautiful, touching story with a great meaning.

4.) Where in the world would you like to spend Christmas the most?

Well, as the song says, "There's no place like home for the holidays!" But I think it would be lovely to visit somewhere in New England at Christmas time. I've seen pictures of quaint little towns in that area during Christmas, with all the snow and farmhouses, and it looks so beautiful.

5.) What fictional/literary character would you most like to spend Christmas with?

Maybe Emma Woodhouse or Anne Shirley. Either would be fun to spend the holidays with, I think. :)

6.) What is your favorite Christmas song?

Oh, this is such a tough question because I have SOO many favorites! But to keep things simple, I think I'll go with "The First Noel." I've always loved that one! And a new favorite that I've discovered recently is "In the Bleak Midwinter." 

7.) What is your favorite Christmas book/story (besides, ya know, the story)?

I really like this book that my grandparents gave me last Christmas called Christmas Blessings. It's a short collection of traditional Christmas carol lyrics, Christmas stories, Bible verses about Jesus' birth, and interesting Christmas facts.

8.) Which do you prefer: multi-colored lights or white lights?

I'd have to say white lights, because they're so bright, simple, and classy. Colored lights are pretty, too, (in fact, that's what my family has always used on our tree!), but there's just something about bright white lights twinkling on a dark green tree.

9.) What time period/decade would you most like to spend Christmas in?

I think the 1950s would have been a nice decade to spend Christmas in, mostly because my favorite Christmas movies are set during that time period and it makes me feel a bit nostalgic for that era. The early 1900s comes in close second, though, because then I could go for sleigh rides. :)

10.) Which period drama has the best Christmas scene/episode?

I looove the Christmas scene at the end of Samantha: An American Girl Holiday. On Christmas morning, Samantha's aunt and uncle tell her that they want to adopt her, along with her best friend and her two sisters. It's such a sweet, heartwarming scene! And after that, they hand out their presents in a room that's decorated beautifully for Christmas. I just love this movie. :)

Thanks Abby for this fun, festive tag! I had a lot of fun answering these questions, and now I tag anyone who is reading this to go answer them yourself! 

Have a lovely day!

*Photos found via Pinterest