Weeks ago, I decorated for Christmas. It wasn’t Thanksgiving yet, but it was the perfect weekend to unpack and sort and decide what and where decorations belonged for the Christmas season. I include general wintery decorations at the same time; when I put away Christmas decorations, I still have some winter-themed decorations to keep the house from suddenly feeling…blah. After all, the cold months and short days of a central Illinois winter call for some intentional wintry cheer.
The wind blew through the trees outside. Gold glitter scattered through my house from new outdoor decorations I opened and assembled inside. Christmas music streamed.
It was a quiet, busy day of contentment and joy.
Early evening, I packed anything unused or displaced into their storage spaces. I cleaned the floor. I scheduled the timed lights to greet me at my usual come-home-from-work time. The wind still blew through the trees outside. There was still gold glitter remnants sparkling on my floor. Christmas music still played. And I stood and took it all in.
The decorations aren’t the core of Christmas. They aren’t necessary. They don’t require family and friends to see them or gather around them to make them meaningful. They are a reminder. There is beauty in remembering moments with my girls as I use some of the decorations we used to put up together. There is beauty in remembering friends and family as I hang certain decorations on the tree. There is beauty of a journey of faith through many years as I position several nativities through my house.
- the one I’ve put up wherever I lived since being an adult
- the one I put up many times as a child that still plays the familiar tune when wound
- the one my daughter brought back from Cambodia
- the pieces I bought on trips to Israel
The nativity sets and other decorations are not evidence of faith; they are expressions of it. As I intentionally placed the wise men slightly separated from each nativity scene, I considered their journey. It was long. They faced opposition and challenges. They persisted. Their Christmas was not tied in a neat bow. They carried their gifts for a long time and presented them when given the opportunity.
Our relationship with Jesus is a journey. It’s not shoved into one day to give him a casual nod. It’s not a one-time decision (or rejection). It’s an arduous journey, filled with anticipation, endurance, worship, and joy.
Take a moment today and reflect on your journey with him. Seek and savor his presence. Know him well.