Decorating for Christmas: A phrase that excites some and brings stress to others. What can we learn from this preparation for Christmas that will point us to our Lord and Savior? That will help us to be ready, inside and out, for the celebration of the greatest birth in history? I invite you to join us over the next two weeks to learn how decorating for Christmas can draw us closer to God.
Over the past three weekends, I put out the Christmas decorations. I put up the outside lights, I strung the tinsel and the garlands and I put out the candles. Is set the nutcrackers on the hearth and got out the snow men. Then I put up the tree, and my husband and I decorated it together. As we took out each of the ornaments, my mind traveled back to how each of them had come to be in our Christmas ornament box.
First there were very old ones that I remembered buying when my husband and I were newly-weds. There had been a flood on the dessert where we lived, and all of our Christmas decorations had been ruined. With the insurance money, we had gone out and purchased a few new things. I recalled how we had painstakingly examined each one before placing it in the shopping cart, and especially how conscientious we had been that the “perfect” ornament in our own eyes had also been “perfect” in the eyes of the other.
A whole new class of ornaments were in the next box. These were ones that Rob, as a teacher, had been given over the years by his students. I guess we could tell how many years he has been teaching by the number of ornaments in that box! And each one brings to mind a precious life that he had touched throughout the years.
As I don’t work with children, there weren’t very many in the next box, but each of these were precious in their own rights, for these had been given to me over the years by special patients, people whose lives I had touched, but perhaps more importantly, people who had touched my life and forever changed me in their own special ways.
Next came the ornaments that our children had picked out when they were little. There were musical instruments and little tips that went over the lights. I remembered with fondness how our oldest son, who is a musician at heart, had carefully arranged these musical ornaments on the tree, putting it so that little angel ornaments were blowing trumpets, and little puppy ornaments were beating drums with their tails, etc. Then there was the bat man ornaments. A patient of my some years ago had been a police officer involved with the RIDES program. He had given me the extra batman ornaments leftover from the previous year’s RIDES program. How my youngest son had loved those ornaments, and my husband and I had fun hanging them from the lower branches where we could see them clearly and be reminded of our youngest son.
Next there were the hand-made ornaments. My mother had lovingly made some of them, and my children and I had made many as craft projects back when we were homeschooling. Each of these were beautiful reminders of fun times and happy days as a family.
Finally there were the new ornaments. There truly weren’t very many of these, for the tree was already overflowing with all the others.
As I sat back and looked at our creation, I was reminded that Christmas is truly a time to remember. To remember special times as a family, yes; But perhaps even more importantly, to remember the reason for the season. Jesus selflessly gave his life so that we could have a bright and beautiful future. He painstakingly handcrafted His gifts for us: Wisdom, Peace, Joy, Healing, and of course, the greatest gift of all, Salvation.
I realized then that it would be a shame to not put all the old decorations on the tree, for each time I look at the Christmas tree today, I remember the loving, beautiful family and wonderful times God has given us together. At the same time, I remember Jesus’ amazing, out-of-this-world gift with its many different parts. Wouldn’t it be a shame to leave them in the “ornament box” of our lives? Why not take them out? Why not dust them off and hang them from the “trees” of our lives? Why not accept His gifts of Salvation, healing, wisdom, peace, joy and love?
The next time you see beautiful ornaments hanging from a Christmas tree, remember Jesus’ indescribable gift, open that package and make use of it today! “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15)
Please join us on Thursday for special thoughts about what we can learn from–The Nutcrackers: “Decorating for Christmas, Part 2”.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Decorating for Christmas” mini-series, please click here.)