For years I’ve gone about decorating the house for Christmas as if it was an all out attack on the everyday world I live in. I would start early one morning after Thanksgiving dragging out every plastic bin labeled “Christmas” and unload the contents on to my dining room table with expert speed and precision. The normal mantel decorations and pictures would be quickly removed, placed in said Christmas bins and replaced in storage for the season. It’s normally an all day affair, complete with this colonel barking out orders to any minions who happened to be walking by.
“Take that reindeer and put him on the fireplace. Help your dad hang the lights. Go find the water-thingie for the Christmas tree.” My need to attack Christmas decorating was driven from a shortage of time. I worked retail for years, and when you work retail over the Christmas season you really don’t have a lot of extra time. So I made decorating for Christmas more like a battle to be fought, always strategically thinking what my next move would be. I would not be defeated by Christmas decorating, SIR NO SIR!
Fast forward to this year. We got some decorations out Saturday, some Sunday, I put up one tree upstairs yesterday and – wait for it – we still don’t have a Christmas tree in the den! OH MY GOSH it’s a fabulous feeling! I’ve actually enjoyed putting up stockings and unpacking and setting up the 6,000 Snow Village pieces I’ve collected over the years. (OK, 6,000 is a gross over exaggeration but when you are unpacking all those little pieces that’s what it feels like.)
The point? Take time to enjoy the Christmas season. We’ve all heard this advice but I didn’t get it until this year. I’ve been so caught up in making my list and checking it twice that I missed the little pleasures that happen during one of the two most holy of seasons in the Christian faith. So my encouragement for you today is to pause, look around you and soak in the Christmas season. Enjoy your children whether they are singing in the kindergarten Christmas pageant or bringing home mounds of dirty laundry from college. Bake some gingerbread cookies with a neighbor or watch a classic Christmas movie (My pick? White Christmas). Read the story of Jesus’ birth straight from the Bible (Luke 2:1-20). Slow down and enjoy Christmastime before it’s time to unload and reload all the storage bins.
So my battle plan is rolled up, stuffed far underneath the boxes of decorations this year. No feelings of anxiety over the one Christmas candle that isn’t in its perfect place or the missing pieces of the Advent calendar. Just a sense of peace that comes from knowing my Savior and an overwhelming feeling of excitement because I get to celebrate His birth.
And I might just go get a “Charlie Brown” tree on Christmas Eve…
Have a blessed weekend!