SS #133 – Mom Is the Magic of Christmas

Christmas is a lot of work. That’s true. But isn’t it good work? Isn’t it work we can enjoy?

Yes, it is. And we don’t have to wait for the feeling of enjoyment to come, then we can get into the work of Christmas. We give ourselves to our work, then we find the enjoyment comes when we’re doing it for others, for God’s glory, and not to be self-serving.

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Christmas is our job, mom!

  • [2:48-10:33] Scholé Everyday segment
  • [11:14] A Scholé Sisters history lesson
  • [14:25] The positive side of not being the white witch
  • [18:25] Is generosity a virtue?
  • [24:38] Bavinck to the rescue
  • [27:08] Mom as home atmosphere
  • [29:52] The pros and cons of minimalism
  • [35:01] Take seasons of life into account
  • [38:31] How do we decide what we should do for Christmas?
  • [42:12] Some of our Christmas traditions
  • [46:38] What is happening when we do the work of Christmas?
  • [48:08] But why call it magic?

Today’s Hosts

Brandy Vencel, homeschool mom and Charlotte Mason aficionado, hosts the podcast so she can confirm that she is, in fact, right.

Mystie Winckler, homeschool mom and author of 3 books,
loves to start thinking about a topic by looking it up in the dictionary.

Abby Wahl, homeschool mom and sheep midwife,
is the kind of friend who talks to you about fitness at the holiday party.

Scholé Everyday: What We’re Reading

The Jane Austen Collection: Deluxe 6-Volume Box Set Edition (Arcturus Collector’s Classics)
Forever Strong: A New, Science-Based Strategy for Aging Well
Truths We Confess: A Systematic Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith

Forever Strong, Gabrielle Lyons

Abby brings us a health book at Christmastime, go figure.

Truths We Confess, R.C. Sproul

Mystie enjoys a systematic theology tome each year, and this was her 2023 pick.

Mansfield Park, Jane Austen

Brandy thinks it’s evident this was Austen’s first, not best, novel.

If not white witch, what?!

In 2016, in our very first Christmas episode, we charged us all to “not be the white witch” and give in to gnostic impulses to dismiss the importance of living in embodied ways, celebrating with material goods.

We also began the #dontbethewhitewitch hashtag on IG, which has gotten some traction every year since. Show us your Christmas festivities by adding the hashtag!

Six years later, now, we want to revisit the theme, but look at it from the positive angle. Instead of saying what we should not be, let’s talk about what we should be at Christmas. Mom should be the magic of Christmas.

Generosity: a feminine virtue

The opposite of the White Witch would be generosity. Even when she appeared to be kind, she had an angle, a self-centered reason for her giving.

Kindness is freedom from meanness or smallness of mind, liberality in giving or willingness to give, kindness or magnanimity, amplitude, and abundance.

Generosity is a virtue in that it is a moral excellence. Although it’s not on the standard list of core virtues, it is part of the character of God, so when we are generous, we are imitating God as we should be. In fact, God’s generosity is most seen in sending Jesus as a man for our salvation. What better time to ourselves be generous!

Growing in virtue is protective for us. It keeps us and guards us, 1 Peter says.

Virtue comes from the Greek idea of an ideal man, vir. Perhaps generosity is the epitome of a feminine beauty. Generosity, taking something and making more of it and giving it to others, is what women are created to do. She receives and glorifies for the benefit of others.

If the husband is the head, then the wife is the heart of the family. The husband brings in the fruits of his labor, the wife distributes them according to each one’s need; the husband gives, the wife receives…the husband lives in society, the wife lives in her family, the husband exercises power directed outward and influence directed inward, the wise exercises power directed inward and influence directed outward….she supplies the tone and texture of home life; with unequaled talent she magically transforms a cold room into a cozy place…she uses limited means to generate great things.

Hermann Bavinck, The Christian Family (p. 95)

A minimalist Christmas ideal?

Does minimalism tug at your heartstrings? Minimalism is the promise that if we get our situation ordered properly, we’ll be better people. The key to being happier or holier is getting rid of as much stuff as you can. It’s a tactic to avoid stress often do to blame-shifting your stress onto your stuff, your circumstances.

If the reason for dealing with your stuff – by gaining it or getting rid of it – is to avoid responsibility, to make yourself comfortable, to reduce stress without actually addressing your heart. Minimalism can still be materialism – your stuff makes all the difference.

It’s not about the amount of stuff – it’s about our attitude about the stuff, whether there is more than we’d like or less than we’d like.

We use the stuff to make Christmas happen, but it’s our tone and attitude as mom that transforms the stuff into Christmas joy.

How do you pick what to do?

The ultimate criteria is not whether or not something stresses you out. In fact, you can change whether or not messes and work stresses you out and that would be a better option than avoiding Christmas.

You don’t have to do all the ideas you see, not even all the good ideas. We are also finite. Just choose some things and keep it simple if you need to because it’s not about achieving a particular aesthetic outcome. It’s about festively doing extra together.

Even if you’re wanting family traditions, you don’t have to wait until you’re sure you can commit to a lifetime of a particular thing before you just start and try it out. Traditions aren’t usually for a lifetime – that’s just the way kids remember it, not the way it really was.

Mom as magic, really?!

It’s mom’s job to make Christmas happen. It’s not an imposition. It’s a tone set by mom and it is her God-given calling to do so. It’s magic — more is happening than what’s visible — when mom does it out of love and joy.

We can actually learn to love what must be done.

Magic is the spiritual realm made to bear in real life. We’re bringing spiritual truth into our homes with lights and treats and fun and singing and gifts.

All these things – lights, treats, fun, singing, gifts – find their fulfillment and perfection in Jesus becoming a man for us. We are reflecting our God when we incarnate joy and peace into our homes.

Christmas should be the most anti-gnostic holiday because it is when God became a man. We should use all the senses God gave us and that God Himself took on as we celebrate Christmas.

Mentioned in the Episode

Charlotte Mason’s School Education (Book 3 the of Home Education Series)
The Chronicles of Narnia
A Christmas Carol
The Christian Family
Simplified Organization: Learn to Love What Must Be Done
The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own

SS #99: The Ordinary Homeschool

This year’s Christmas episode is a little less Christmassy, perhaps. Instead of focusing on festivity as we have in years past, we look at whether or not every day is supposed to be festive. Christmas is an important festive time, but it’s surrounded by ordinary time to set it off. Our school days are no…
Read More SS #99: The Ordinary Homeschool

SS #82: You Can’t Cancel Christmas

The death of culture and festivity is not a less important death than bodily. No matter what government officials say, Christmas is coming and must be honored with festive celebration – piety requires it. In this episode, Brandy Vencel, Pam Barnhill, Mystie Winckler, and Abby Wahl discuss how festivity and scholé fits into the curricular…
Read More SS #82: You Can’t Cancel Christmas

Want to talk about the ideas presented here? The conversation is happening inside Sistership.

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