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'Tis the Season

When I was a kid I loved getting everything decorated for Christmas. There was the full-size tree with lights, ornaments, and tinsel. I would spend hours making a popcorn chain for the tree. There were the two large blue-spruce trees outside to put lights on. The figurines in the front window were switched for Christmasy ones. The advent wreath was made and the manger scene carefully set up.

In hindsight, I was probably the only one in the family excited about decorating for Christmas and everyone else just humored me. Once I left home Christmas decorating was reduced to a wreath on the door and changing the figurines in the front window.

My excitement for decorating my own homes has varied.

We’ve had full-sized trees, we’ve had table top trees. We’ve had living trees that we could replant outside. We’ve had trains running around the base of the trees. We’ve had wreaths on the door, and greenery on the bannister. We’ve had full-fledged advent wreaths. We’ve had simple arrangements of candles for Advent.

And we’ve had none of that.

It was pretty clear early on that my children weren’t interested in decorating for Christmas. The tree would have sat there for weeks with no decorations if they had been left in charge.

For the last decade or so our Christmas tree has been a pre-decorated, pre-lit table-top tree that we just take out of the box and put on the coffee table, whenever I manage to clear it off. I may have some semblance of an advent wreath up by the third week of Advent. If we remember, we turn on the Bethlehem star in our front window, and hopefully this week I’ll get the candles in the windows going.

I know people who spend weeks decorating for Christmas, with a tree in every room, greenery and ribbons everywhere, and lights decorating every window and bannister. It’s fun to see the lights and decorations that people put up at their homes. God bless them for their enthusiasm and effort.

I’m not a grinch. I love Christmas. I like seeing other peoples’ decorations. It’s just not what I do. We all know Christmas isn’t about the decorations. I enjoy the build up that Advent worship at church gives us. I enjoy easing into the season at my own pace.

I enjoy that this month Dave will get a handful of cash that he can put in the Salvation Army buckets as he travels around Philadelphia and Wilmington.

I enjoy getting Christmas cards from people and getting caught up on what’s happening in their lives.

I enjoy spending the morning of December 24 at the mall following the Whale Marching Band (boo-ho, I’ll miss it this year because I’ll be at church!).

I enjoy that when we do get the tree up, the cat will take about 30 seconds to reclaim his cozy hiding spot under the tablecloth on the coffee table.

I enjoy going out to buy this year’s list of Magi Project food items.

I enjoy that Dan will spend time with my family out in Denver, and that Matt and Liz will spend time with us here.

I enjoy that my Christmas cactus continues to survive, and actually blossoms at this time of year.

I enjoy having musical concerts at this time of year, and that I HAVE to practice my harp.

I enjoy going to church on Christmas Eve, and singing "Silent Night" by candlelight.

I thoroughly enjoy Christmas, even if that’s not reflected in my home decorations.

For the next month people will ask me if I’m ready for Christmas. As always, I’ll say I’m as ready as I’m going to be. If decorations get put up, that’s fine, if they don’t, Christmas is still going to happen.

Take this Advent season to prepare for the coming of Christ, however that manifests itself for you.

- Ann Warner

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