So, my husband Ky took vacation the first week of November, and decided at that time to go nuts decorating all of the borders of the walls with garland and lights while he had the time and passion. He took down all of our typical knick-knacks and replaced them with Christmas themed objects of religious and secular varieties; and covered all of the large paintings and pictures in our home with wrapping paper and bows.
All the while, of course, I had to stand in the corner covering my eyes. I come from a family of highly neurotic people (my older brother being the worst—shhh. Please don’t tell him I said that in a reading which is actually being printed on paper and posted online!); and in a psycho-light version of what would have been my brother’s total nervous breakdown, all I could think about the entire time Ky was decorating, was that I would have to try my best not to look at the lights or walls for the next three weeks! For me, hanging Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving is like a groom sneaking into a bride’s closet the night before the wedding to have a look at the dress. It just shouldn’t be done!
The days passed, and just as I feared, it was impossible not to see the decorations over the last three weeks, no matter how hard I tried to keep my eyes toward the floor; and I eventually grew numb to them. I resigned myself to having a senseless Christmas, until the day Ky returned home with our Christmas tree (several days after Thanksgiving), and we spent the night decorating its branches, and listening to Christmas carols with Chevy Chase on mute in the background.
As Ralphie said, “All was right with the world.”
I could finally look at the Christmas lights my husband hung early, and allow my mind to not only accept their place in our home, but to embrace it, and stare long and deep into their warm colors bouncing from glass, and splashing over walls.
As I wove the Christmas lights through the branches of the tree, I realized my situation with the Christmas decorations in many ways reflects our experience of our spiritual beliefs throughout the year. We’re surrounded always by our Christian beliefs, and our love and passion toward the life of Christ; but over the course of the year, our minds sometimes grow numb to these things. We take these feelings for granted—as a given. We’re used to seeing them—to being around them. The season of Advent—Christmas time—is a set of days and weeks in the year when we can allow ourselves to finally let ourselves take a look around at the beauty of the love and life of Christ and let our eyes bathe in the light, and our hearts warm at the thought. It’s a time we can let our minds delve deep into why and how we came to feels so connected to this person, and the things he said, and meditate on our thankfulness for receiving such a wonderful gift from God.
Throughout Advent, each service at Deer Park UMC will be a meditation on what we received when we were given the gift of Christ’s company in the world, as we let our eyes settle on the beauty of his life, and finally open our minds to the celebration and joy at the sight of it.
I hope you all have a wonderful, and soul-warming Christmas season shared with friends and the people you love.
Take care, and God Bless!