Okay. I have turned into one of those people I said that I would never become. In fact, I am sitting here in our small hearth room in front of the fireplace and a cabinet full of Christmas decorations. In fact, we have a tree up – okay, we have 4 trees up… but before you judge me, I would like to offer an explanation. But know that we are guilty of early Christmas decorating this year. In fact, this is the first time that we have broken our own rule of only decorating for the next holiday – and that means we don’t do anything Christmas related until the week-end after Thanksgiving. Well, that was until this year.
Janet and I have been doing Christmas decorating together since 1973 – the first Christmas that we were married. We were engaged on Christmas Eve 1972, so you can tell that we are real advocates of the Christmas season. In all reality, we both love the season but Janet loves the house decorated even more than I do. Sometimes, I come across as a Scrooge about the whole thing – all I can think about is all the work we have to do to take things down after Christmas is over.
But that doesn’t deter Janet! She could go on decorating forever and love every moment. When we had our last larger home, it took us four full days to do the house. A large entry tree and all the mantels decorated to the nines. Lighted garland up the stairs and a festive atmosphere the entire time. But we realized as we got older that we can’t do things as quickly as we used to. Aside from that, we don’t have the strength and stamina that we did in the earlier days and all those trips up and down the stairs to get things out of storage eventually take their toll on us…
There’s one more factor that has figured into our decision to break our rules and start decorating early. Four years ago, when Janet’s parents both passed away within 18 days of each other, Janet wasn’t in the mood to put up Christmas. So we had one very small tree and pretty much that was it. Then, last December, Janet broke her upper arm the week before Christmas and even though the decorations were already up, her level of pain and the disruption to her life kind of dampened the rest of the holiday season. In fact, it’s been a tough year and this past summer, our wonderful dog, Lexie, passed away.
This year, we decided to shake things up a bit and do something we have never done before. That means that we opted for the other choice. We finally made the call to put stuff up early. Since we have had a rough couple of years and didn’t get to enjoy the impact of our transformed home, we took the plunge and decided that we wanted to enjoy it for as long as was reasonably possible. There you have it – true confessions. And you know what? We are really enjoying it. Janet even kept putting stuff out while I was working out of town earlier this week. I came home and actually spent time walking around to see all the stuff we haven’t put up for several years.
But make no mistake – the decorations are not a substitution for the real meaning of Christmas – the celebration of the birth of Jesus and what that means to us as Christians. The cornerstone of Christianity is the birth of Jesus, his eventual death on a cross and subsequent resurrection. No other religion can claim a living God who was risen from the dead and still reigns today.
Our verse for this evening highlights the importance of adhering to the truth about Christ. Paul, the apostle, tells us in Col. 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus wants us to focus on Him. And my prayer is that as we go through this Christmas season, we stay focused on the true meaning of the season and celebrate the life of our risen Savior. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…