One of my grandchildren walked into our house after church yesterday and proclaimed in an excited voice, “Wow, it sure is Christmassy in here!” I think he might have invented a new word, but it thrilled my heart to see him so enthusiastic about Christmas. We have a tendency to lose some of that zeal for the holidays, as we get older. Putting up the tree and the decorations can become more of a duty than a delight. We find ourselves tempted to put fewer and fewer ornaments on the tree each year.
There was a time when I would put up lights around the house and on the trees in our front yard. When the children left home, that ceased to be a priority. I still have to enlist help getting the storage boxes out of the attic, but the responsibility of adorning the tree and the rest of our house rests upon the tired shoulders of my bride and me. So, we do end up leaving out some of the items that previously were on display. Apparently, it is still decorated enough to wow a child!
I am desperately trying to recapture the spirit of anticipation about Christmas that once belonged to the boy “Growing Up On Dump Ground Road.” As a child, it seemed like the month of December dragged on forever leading up to Christmas. As an adult, it feels like we just put all that Christmas stuff away last week. And now, here we are dragging it all out again. As much as we appreciate the reason for the season, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior, we wrestle with the hectic schedules and financial pressures of the holiday.
I have made a deliberate decision to focus my attention on people this year, and not presents. The gifts that we give to our children and grandchildren are secondary to the time that we are going to get to spend with them. Even the food, a simple meal of soups and sandwiches, will not overshadow the importance of being together as a family. My joy will come from the gifts that crawl up in my lap, not the boxes under the tree. Thinking back on my childhood, I believe that celebrating God’s Gift with my family was the most important thing, even then.
Serving in love,