Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oh deck those Advent halls

First of all...thank you to the scholars of Pinterest.  I applaud your creativity and bravery this Christmas season.  I award you the most resourceful and economic idea-generator of all things Christmas this year.  With glad tidings you proclaim your wares, causing me to stare in amazement of how many times you can use a empty toilet paper roll.

I see plenty of those waiting for me around my halls.

Second, I applaud the rest of you for following the Pinterest march to own your decorated halls, and bringing out the best in your yards and corners of your living spaces with those perfect Christmas decorations.  The ones that will make it's mark on your family legacy.  The decorations that you will want to hand down from generation to generation.

The decorations that you will write home about, tell your future kids about, those grand kids, the one true focused decoration that stirs a deep comforting Christmas memory.  The Christmas milestone moment that bookmarks time to signal the Christmas season and tick off these Advent days.

It's not Christmas until we decorate our spaces.  Until we adorn our hallways and mall-ways with the glitters and sounds of Christmas.  We can't have elusive seasonal joy until we unfurl the best gift ever.  It's how we usher in the Christmas celebration into our homes.

Take a look around and see how you have decorated your own halls for this Christmas season.  You probably have pulled out all your favorite pieces, the ones that just say "Let's be jolly, have some holly!"  Or have hung that mistletoe in it's appointed place for just the right seasonal exchange of a Christmas kiss.  (I have never understood Santa's role in this whole kissing thing...UGH!)

I caved to the conformity and pressure of putting up a Christmas tree this year.  It was at the polite request or what I like to call a simple Christmas demand,  issued by my adult daughter (deadline was Dec. 7th and side note, I did indeed meet her deadline).  Putting up a tree reminds her it's Christmas.  It's a season of celebration for her as this month includes her birthday.  It's a tradition within her thinking that sets off an alarm to think about Christmas, to bring in the sounds of celebration, the joys of celebrating.  

In putting up the tree I couldn't help but think about how we bring in all these extra decorations to enhance our celebrations but in reality they distract our celebrations.  Isn't it interesting that Christmas is synonymous with the lights, the bows, the ribbons, and the snow? 

When we really look at the pretty sights of Christmas, shouldn't we focus on the One, simple and authentic Beauty?  Could our celebrations follow our hearts longing to satisfy our deepest need these Advent days, in taking away any fake beauty, to unwrap the real Beauty of Salvation? 

God came to us.  In the first Advent, Jesus set aside glory for humility. We didn’t tidy up our earth or our lives for him before he came. There was no level of decoration that could have been appropriate anyway. This is about His Love plan for us, that was set in motion from the Perfect Garden, before our lives became decorated with all kinds of sin.  

A well adorned Christmas tree certainly wasn't at the stable where Mary and Joseph welcomed our Savior.  There was no brilliant lights except for the angels gleaming in worship around them.  The stars beamed, shining heavenly light, in the silence of the night.  No tinsel among the hay, dirt, the mess of a stable.  

Why do we bow to the latest craze of Christmas?  

I admit I have missed the message of Christmas for many years.  

But....with an intentional focus on the reason these advent days are made for, let's pause our decorating.  Let's stop the busyness and blurry days and let our hearts trip over the manger child.  

How ever you choose to adorn your hallways, byways, your choruses, your stories, and your family photo albums with memories, remember to pause for the Christ-child.  The awe and wonder of a Holy God coming near and letting His Presence, Peace, and Joy decorate your Christmas Advent days.

My Prayer:  Dear Jesus, forgive us when we try to add to your story of Christmas.  Forgive us in our empty hearts longing that we look to tinsel and shiny things to fill our deep need for your Presence.  Forgive us Lord, when we don't shout your birth from the mountain tops.  Forgive us Lord when we bow to the latest decoration craze or light show.  Forgive us in the ways we are easily distracted.  God make our hearts stop with your message to see the beauty of Christmas.  May we take in your breathe of Heaven during these Advent days.  Make we all make more room for you, Jesus.  

Luke 2:6-7  "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
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