This is the week we put out all the Christmas stuff. And I do mean ALL the Christmas stuff. Sam and I love to decorate – correction – Sam and I love the way the house looks once the decorating is finished. There are only two of us in a medium-sized apartment, and we have three Christmas trees! We also have a large collection of Rudolph figurines, several different Father Christmas figures (one about 3 feet tall), a lot of miscellaneous Christmas decor and over a dozen nativity sets. We collect nativity sets, because Jesus is the main focus of Christmas, after all, and we want to remember that.
Usually I do love the decorating. It’s one of my favorite traditions. We make hot chocolate and turn on Christmas music and make the house beautiful. However, this year I just wasn’t feeling it at all. Not the decorating, not Christmas itself, not any of it. I even started complaining about the Christmas music that was playing. “Does she really have to sing that high?” “Don’t you think he is just totally over-singing that? It’s just annoying.” “Oh, it’s only December first and I’m already sick of this song!” Yeah, I was a ton of fun that day.
But the next night after the decorating was done, with the lights out and only the glow of the tree illuminating the room, those same Christmas songs sounded sweet and heartwarming. The idea of celebrating seemed wonderful. What had changed? Maybe the fact that the work was done, or maybe the beauty of the room – or maybe just that I had let myself relax and enjoy the idea of the season.
I do know that like everybody else, I can get so stuck on the outside of Christmas that it’s hard to get to the inside – the part where I stop and thank Jesus for what he did. Where I really take time and think about it, God Almighty becoming a helpless baby, totally dependent on humans for food, to be moved, to be diapered – becoming truly the least so that he could give himself for us, when we had already proven that we didn’t deserve it. I need to let that truth overwhelm shopping lists and dinner plans and travel dates. I need to sit and let the peace of the stable and the shadow of the cross fill my heart so that the bustle of the mall doesn’t fill my mind. When Christmas is truly about the Gift, then it truly changes me.
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. 1 John 1:1,4,5,14NLT
BTW, mea culpa. I’ve been lazy, no excuses or nicer words for it. I just haven’t gotten on this page and written regularly enough lately and I’m sorry. If all of you people are nice enough to follow my blog, I should at least give you something to read. I’m going to do better – thanks for hanging in there with me.