Last night I went out and found the most beautiful Christmas tree. It is a Douglas Fur that was placed in the midst of Scotch Pines and it seemed impossible to me that such a beautiful tree wasn't snatched up by every person who walked by it. I took one look and knew I had found this year's Christmas tree. It now stands in my living room awaiting lights and ornaments — the last piece of Christmas decorating on my list.
Each year I experience great joy as I get out my boxes (and boxes) of decorations and transform my house in preparation for Christmas. I love unpacking the Christmas treasures that I have been collecting for years and remembering the people who gave me items, or the places where I purchased them. It adds to my excitement to have a totally different look to my house, as I pack away the "everyday" and bring out the "once a year."
Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright . . .
The Christmas season brings a sense of holiness and calm. Christmas lights are only one of the ways that "all is bright." We buy gifts for friends and family who are closest to us. We send cards to those we may connect with but once a year. We bake cookies, prepare special dinners, and fill our homes with people who are important to us. And for most of us, we use this time of year to donate money and goods to people in need — recognizing that if we are to have a merry Christmas, so must everyone else.
Yet if you are like me, the un-decorating for Christmas isn't nearly as much fun. All those trips up and down the stairs, all the boxing and sorting and cleaning that accompanies it are greeted with much less enthusiasm. I wonder if some of that isn't because when Christmas is done, too often we set aside "peace on earth, good will towards all" and go back to "normal." Within a month's time, my beautiful Christmas tree will have to leave my house. I, like most people, will probably just throw it on the curb for the garbage collectors to pick up. Will I throw out the peace, and calm, and brightness that I feel now with it?
St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
"I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and heights and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3: 18-19)
As you prepare for Christmas now, perhaps you can also prepare for how you will keep Christmas within your heart throughout the year, so that you may be filled with the fullness of God.
Loving Father, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus. Help us to live each day of this Christmas season in celebration of your Gift and to treasure your love for us each and every day of the year. Help us to bring peace to earth and goodwill towards all. Amen.
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