Last Saturday, in “Decorating for Christmas, Part 3”, we learned from looking at the lights on the Christmas tree that a tree is only pretty when all the lights are working. In the same way, we are made to shine forth Jesus in every aspect of our lives so that we can truly be lights in this dark world.
Once the lights were on the tree, my thoughts took a turn in a different direction, and I began to think about the decorating crew. To me, one of the most precious things about decorating for Christmas is the fun and laughter and togetherness of family. When my boys were little, their excitement at the thought of decorating for Christmas was almost more than their excitement for Christmas itself. As time went on and they grew into teens and young adults, the excitement waned, perhaps, but the enthusiasm did not. There were years when they would bring home their friends to help decorate. We would have hot chocolate and snacks and Christmas carols, and all the while, the mantel was being decorated, the snow scene was appearing on top of the piano and book case, the snowmen were coming out of their summer habitats, and the tree was going up and being beautified.
This past year, neither of the boys could be home to help with the Christmas decorating. I was disappointed, but I understood. Nonetheless, the thought of decorating the house by myself was not a very motivating one. Finally I bit the bullet and started bringing up the boxes. My cat immediately joined me. Every box had to be investigated. She had to physically go inside each one. Every garland was a string for her to chase, ever ornament, a cat toy hung at just the right place for her to bat and steal.
The decorating process took a bit longer than usual with me doing it myself, especially with my four-legged “help”, and I expected that the cat would simply lose interest in the “game”. She didn’t. She was having the time of her life, and you could almost read in her thoughts: “Why can’t we decorate for Christmas every day?”
I then began to receive help from an unexpected source. My husband, usually too busy with this ministry to be able to help decorate for Christmas, turned on some Christmas music, turned off his computer screen, and started hanging ornaments on the tree. I have never had so much fun with my husband as we did decorating that tree this year. In fact, I believe his thoughts went along the lines of, “Why don’t I do this with my family every year?”
It all made me think. Christmas is a time of family, a time of unity, love and peace throughout families. It is a time for having fun together as we prepare to celebrate the most important birthday in history. But “family” isn’t just about husbands and wives and children and grandparents. The Bible teaches that we are all one family: “So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.” (Eph 2:19-21)
Over and over again, we are called God’s Children. Here are just a few examples: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26); “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:18); “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)
When we celebrate Christmas, we actually celebrate our Heavenly family. We celebrate the fact that we are now adopted into the family of God! It doesn’t matter if we have no Earthly families, if our children are far away, if our families have rejected us. God, the ultimate Father, has taken us into His family, and He will never, ever leave us or forsake us: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut 31:6).
Please join us next Thursday to see what we can learn from wrapping the presents in “Decorating for Christmas, Part 5”.
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.)