Want to see what I’ve been up to? I’ve been making deco mesh garlands to hang on our front porch. You see, last year was the final straw for the pre-lit garlands we’d put out for years. Every year it was the same hassle, most of it brought on by my less than logical mind. I’d hang six garlands along our railing. My obsessiveness would take over as to whether they each had the same amount of swag and if the lights were pointing in ways that could be seen from the street. I’d adjust here and there and finally, not because they were perfect, but because my fingers were freezing, I’d decide enough was enough and it was time to plug them in. That’s when I’d discover that I’d hung them all in the wrong direction and the plug prong was at the opposite end from the plug. So, I’d have to take them all down and hang them up again in the opposite direction, my frozen brain caring a little less about how good they looked, as long as they lit. Of course, there always were one or two that wouldn’t light up unless they were in a specific spot (still don’t understand the reasoning there). So, at the end of last season, I chucked them!
I am now going to say something that may shock some of you – I HATE decorating! Despite the capital letters, I whispered that statement. It seems almost “unChristian” to dislike decorating for Christmas. From what I can tell by listening to others, there aren’t many who sympathize with my anti-decorating mindset. I talked to a patient last year who confessed to having three Christmas trees. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I don’t even have a single one.
It’s not that I don’t like decorations…when they are done by others. I just don’t have a knack for decorating in any sense of the word. When our children were young, we’d haul out every box of festive glitter, put on holiday music, and take our respective stations. My daughter would set up the ever growing snowman display, my son would put up the window clings that seemed to lose a member each year, and I would set up the nativity scene. Now that my children have moved on to other things, my solo attempts have become more and more pitiful by the year. I know that each thing I drag up stairs will have to be dragged back down in just over a month.
Thankfully, Christmas isn’t really about decorating. God doesn’t care if I empty out all my Christmas storage boxes and hang every ornament. He doesn’t care if the lights on my garland are all balanced or even if I have a garland. What He does care about is the attitude of my heart. First of all, my focus should be on Him and the gift He gave in the person of His Son. When I’m setting up that manger scene, I should recall that Jesus lived a life of difficulties. He was unappreciated by the masses and downright hated by many. He was misunderstood, mocked, and ridiculed, sometimes by those who should have been the closest to Him. Yet, He didn’t complain. His purpose, even before His birth, was to subject Himself to His Father’s will. He full well knew where that will would lead Him – to the cross. Instead of looking ahead at the dismal things He would experience and whining about them to everyone who would listen, He saw the joy that would be accomplished through His death, burial, and resurrection.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
God has given me today. It is a gift. Will all my days ahead be full of sunshine and cheer? Doubtful. The day will come when the decorations will have to come down…but not today. I have so many things to be thankful for and find joy in life. Many people are going through rough days every day. Whatever may come, my ultimate future is bright – for it will be Heaven. That thought should brighten my attitude, no matter what life holds for me. I am going to purposefully enjoy today – the day God has given me. I am going to thank Him for the gifts He has provided, but especially for His Son because without Him my future would have no joy. I think having a joyous attitude, even among the doldrums of life is a way of decorating my heart!
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11