Christmas is my favorite holiday. The smell of cookies baking, the joyful music, the glimmering trees and the nativity scenes remind me not only of God’s love, but of how blessed I am to be loved by my friends and family, too.
When I was a child, my mom would go to town decorating our home. Though she would wait to put up most decorations until it was actually close to Christmas, when the time came it was usually a three-to-four-day affair that my brothers and I loved to assist with. To us, those decorations made us feel the love and the warmth our family home had, and they helped to emphasize how truly special Christmastime was.
This allowed our family to wait in preparation for Christ’s birth during the Advent season. However, just like nothing was put up the day after Thanksgiving, nothing was taken down the day after Christmas, either. She always left the decorations up until Christmas had ended, which was at least until Epiphany (early to mid- January), and sometimes she even waited another week. Keeping the decorations up allowed us to really savor and focus on the Christmas season, not tearing them down right away to move on to the “next thing.”
This year I’m really pondering the importance of Christmas decorations as I try to show my own family what love is during this season.
While I, too, usually wait a few weeks to decorate, this year I’m stuck wondering if any decorating will occur at all. Currently my husband and I are in the middle of finishing the basement of our home, and it just so happens that all of our Advent and Christmas decorations are packed tightly behind so much extra furniture and boxes that I have no idea if I’ll even be able to get to. No Advent wreath or calendar, no manger scene (with Baby Jesus kept hidden until Christmas day), and no twinkling lights.
Frankly, it’s left me feeling a little less “in the spirit” this year, and I wonder if my children and husband feel the same way. Without these items, it’s been a struggle to convey to my two young children the joy, love, and enthusiasm that I want them to experience in preparation of Christ’s birth.
While we are hoping to wrap up our project in the next couple of weeks, giving me hope that I will make it back to my decorations yet, nothing is for certain. Either I will have to come up with other creative ways to bring a little Christmas cheer to my home, or twist my husband’s arm to perform a great act of love by crawling to the back of our over-cramped storage and digging out my décor for me. [Adam, if you’re reading this, what do you think? 🙂 ]
However, missing such simple things has allowed me to understand more fully how important beauty is to our lives as human beings—beauty in other people, our relationships, and in home spaces. Beauty points to truth, makes us feel loved, and leaves us in awe of a truly amazing God. It gives us hope and reminds us that there is goodness in this world, especially as the world seems to be filled with so much hate and sadness these past few months. So whether you have a million Christmas decorations or one, try to appreciate the beauty that is already around you in your relationships, families, and homes.