Friday, December 14, 2007

The First Ornament of Christmas!

Some of you have heard of our silly little tradition of hanging the first ornament on the Christmas tree together. It was so easy when there were only a couple of us to hang onto it, but with the six of us now, it's a little more difficult. We each place our hand on the blue lamb and hang it together on the tree, and then we step back, raise our hands over our heads and say together, 'The first ornament of Christmas!" Yes, it's a little hokey, but you know what? My two teenagers still do it with us, and they even smile while they're doing it! We then take hands and pray over our Christmas season, thanking God for the gift of His son and asking Him to help us focus on Him and others instead of ourselves. Then the children get busy hanging their individual ornaments on the tree while Christmas carols play in the background.

We're a little later than usual getting our tree decorated this year, but all in good time, right? I've already had two Christmas gatherings at our home, and believe it or not, they went off just fine without a Christmas tree being up! So many times, I (like many others, I'm sure), put so many expectations on myself to have things perfect in the house, all the while sacrificing what's really important. I am making progress however, because this year it didn't bother me at all to not have our tree in and decorated before the Christmas parties we hosted. So, in one small area of my life, there is slight progress! Hey, I'll celebrate even the littlest of victories!

Anyway, this all reminded me of a poem I received a couple of years ago from my friend, Dawn Davis, in an email. Let's all just agree to give up the perfect Christmas in exchange for a love-filled Christmas; there is so much more freedom that way. I believe we so often choose to make ourselves slaves to some standard just to feel like we're good enough, rich enough, stylish enough, whatever enough, that we are not choosing God's better gifts of love and peace.

May we all have a 1 Corinthians Style Christmas!

Christmas 1 Corinthians 13 Style

- author unknown

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust ... but giving the gift of love will endure.

1 comment:

RWC said...

A very refreshing way to enjoy the season! I read a book back in JR High(dont remember the name of it). It had this family that was poor and lived outside of town and it described the Christmas they had. I never forgot it! A simple homemade gift for each person(name exchange style) the mother working side by side with the children making homemade suckers out of carmalized sugar dripped in a bowl of snow. And a completely homemade dinner including the fowl the father hunted for that day! I always wondered what a simple Christmas like that would be like to experience!