Our home has looked like Christmas for quite a while now. Our travel schedule was fairly heavy this fall, so Terry started decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. About that same time I put up the outdoor lights that line our sidewalks. For both of us, that’s a bit earlier than usual.
But there’s a reason. The local neighborhood association sponsors an annual Christmas tour of homes and Terry was invited to open ours for the occasion. Since December 10 was the chosen date, our preparation and decoration schedules had to be adjusted accordingly.
Terry has always loved to celebrate the seasons! Her primary expression of such celebration has been to unpack the stuff related to the respective season and to display it skillfully around our home. She finds places for decorations that I would never dream would be just the right place. And heaven only knows where she stores all these decorations between seasons. I surely don’t!
Manger scenes in olive wood, ceramic and other media serve as silent testimony to the reason for the season. Collections of angels dominate the parlor, standing guard beside an ancient Bible opened to the Christmas story in Luke 2. More than a score of Nutcrackers stand watch in the kitchen. Swarms of Santas line the stairs. Christmas trees are everywhere, each one decorated to the hilt with ornaments collected during our nearly 48 years of life together.
Different families have different traditions. One of our favorites is for the family to gather for Christmas Eve worship, come home to a dinner of homemade lasagna, gather around the tree in the den for opening gifts, and cap off the evening with a traditional desert, usually “Mint Dazzler.”
Since shopping is not my favorite activity, virtually every gift we give has been selected and purchased by Terry. The lady loves to shop! My contribution to the cause is a few gifts for her and a personal letter to every member of the family, including her, flavored with a monetary gift. The color is always right! The size could be larger, but no one complains or offers to return it.
Even with decorations, family gatherings, special meals and gift giving, Christmas can be a time of stress and sadness, often exacerbated by memories of loved ones who have passed on before us or hearts bruised or broken by decisions or events from the past. But primarily it’s a time of joy!
Terry and I hope for each of you a Christmas full of peace, joy, and thankful hearts. Here is our prayer for you, in the words of A Prayer for Christmas Morning by Robert Louis Stevenson:
The day of joy returns, Father in Heaven, and crowns another year with peace and good will. Help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the doors of hate and open the doors of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil, by the blessing that Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children and the Christmas evening bring us to our bed with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
A very Blessed Merry Christmas to each of you!