He walked through the house adding splashes of twinkling lights to every surface he could string them across. The tree decorations that had been abandoned in the living room during the post-hospital chaos would suspiciously appear hanging from green branches on this side and that throughout the day.
Deep full breaths may have been optional for my little asthmatic but apparently decking our home with joy was not.
On the way home from the hospital on Sunday he’d had only one request: that he could have his own wrapping paper and tape. He had a lot of Christmas gifts to prepare for his siblings and friends and “mostly the people who doesn’t gots much”. If only I could wrap that tender heart of his and hand pieces of it out in this increasingly hardened world.
Wait, that’s it! That’s exactly how we were going to make Christmas special this year! It was so simple I don’t know how I hadn’t seen it before.
Because while I knew something needed to change about how we recognize this season, I was way over-complicating things. You know, like I generally do? ????
Children know the meaning of pure joy. They see darkness dispelled by a few twinkling lights and they want to get in on the action. They want to spread cheer and joy and hope. They want to sing the songs and smile the smiles and love the loves and share the Babe.
The One who should be remembered every day, not just on Christmas Day where He’s actually barely remembered at all.
Here I’ve been searching for ways to change things up and really all I needed to do was look down. Because the small people know what they’re doing. They aren’t too busy worrying about the Jones’ or wondering if they’re being judged. They simply get down to the business of doing things right.
Yesterday, our beloved grump stopped by. He wanted to take the kids to cut down a real, live Christmas tree. It’s been YEARS since we’ve had one although we’re surrounded by tree farms. So we loaded up and headed over, anticipation dripping from the very tips of the little ones.
“Can we help pick the tree, Mama?”
“Do you ‘fink I’m big enough to cut it down?”
“Mama, are we going to pwant it in ours house?”
So much excitement after such a long few days. And when we arrived at the farm we found row after row of near perfect trees! It took no time at all for one to be chosen and only moments later Levi risked getting a little extra breathless to have a chance to cut that tree down with his Daddy.
That smile? That smile IS the season.
My plan for this month is not to plan so much. It’s to embrace the new realities asthma has brought us, to slow our pace enough to once again notice what does and doesn’t matter. It’s to see Jesus in the quiet moments and the loud ones, and it’s to find Him when He’s not at first seen.
That’s the essence I spoke about here that I’ve been after, I just didn’t realize it.
You know those Three Angels mentioned in Revelation 14? The ones proclaiming the everlasting gospel to an end time people? The ones warning of judgment but also encouraging the patience of the commandment-keeping saints? Well, I kind of think the message those angels commissioned in that revelation to John is often best demonstrated in the pure simplicity of a joy-filled child.
Because unless we ruin them by indoctrinating them with the world’s way of viewing things, the manger with that precious Baby holds a power for them we ourselves have trouble grasping. A power we tend to grow out of. A power that shares the story of a selfless God who gave EVERYTHING to restore that which was lost.
It’s the faithful who will experience that restoration. It’s the patient who will sow and the wise who will reap.
And it’s a child who will likely lead them.
How do you recognize this season without being dragged into the commericialism of it?
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