Here, alas, is a sad tree. Weren't all those lights working when we took it down last year? Where did we put the tree skirt? How soon can I get some gifts wrapped so it doesn't look so naked underneath?
Wait a minute! What's the real reason we're decorating? Who are we trying to impress? Why do we invest incredible amounts of time and resources decking our halls? Do we sometimes get so into the preparations we think are necessary for Christmas that we end up with a big gap between decoration and adoration?
Every year when we start pulling out trees and decorations and everything else that goes along with them, I'm almost embarrassed. And every year between unpacking all the boxes and the finished product, I stop and wonder if the mess in the middle is worth it. But, having more than my share of gestalt, I/we somehow muscle through. Thankfully, now that I'm retired, decorating only takes a weekend, not weeks, but I'm still wondering about my motivation.
But here's one of my big secrets: I love all the holiday trappings! We're never been a party central house. My extended family comes for Thanksgiving, and the kids come home a couple of times during the season, that's about it as far as entertaining guests. I just enjoy literally basking in the glow of Christmas lights! The family coming for Thanksgiving is really an excuse to jazz up the place as soon as reasonably possible after Halloween.
And here's another confession: I don't have a quiet time every day, most days yes, but not every day. And worse, during this time of year, sometimes too many days slip by without me immersing myself in the "reason for the season". And this is what I've discovered about myself. No matter how much I enjoy the decorating, shopping, Christmas programs and services, if I'm not spending some quality time with the Creator of us all, it all begins to pale and go flat. It's kind of like huge yard inflatables: they're kind of pointless without the breath of the Living God sustaining them.
What's your favorite part of Advent? How do you keep "Christ" in "Christmas"? I'd love to hear how you keep the holiday holy.
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.