Thank goodness I took my advice on sorting priorities* as I prepared for Christmas this year, and didn’t fret about items on my to-do list that never got done. Mark and I lost the first two weeks of December to a wind storm and family illnesses, so my chief priority was keeping the household boat afloat, rather than decorating for Christmas. I set out fewer Christmas angels than usual, decorated the mantles less than usual, and bought a new Christmas tree that already has lights on it. On Christmas Eve morning, I finally found our crèches and hung ornaments on the Christmas tree.
In the process, I learned something I need to take into account in every future Christmas season: I need to see Jesus through-out my home to truly prepare for Christmas. It wasn’t until I set up the crèches that I realized how much their absence had affected my spiritual life.
As much as I try to maintain the true meaning of Christmas–God’s love for the world made visible in human form–I still need to see Jesus in my home to remember most fully why all the fuss of the season matters.
Since I’d spent so little quiet time preparing for Christmas, I kept the Christmas tree and crèches out until today, and sat quietly every day where I could see them. I read the scriptures I hadn’t read before Christmas, pondered what Jesus’ birth and God’s love mean for me in this particular year, and prayed the Advent/Christmas prayers for myself and the world.
I put the crèches in a new box with a green lid today, and a big label that reads, “Crèches.” I’ve set it on top of the other Christmas boxes so I can reach it easily at the beginning of Advent in 2012.
I still don’t plan to fret about getting the house decorated perfectly next year, but I’ll certainly put out the crèches early. In 2012, Jesus will be visible in our home long before Christmas Eve.
*See “How a Jar of Stones Saved Christmas,” posted 12/17/2011.