Well, I did it. It may have taken an entire week with MANY distractions, but the house is finally completely decorated. There is no more yellow and orange to be found anywhere. In its place is red and green...and LOTS of other Christmas things!
I admit that it was quite a struggle to get my home looking like the North Pole this year. What with Justin and Sarah moving into their new home and then back in with us for a few days...not to mention Caitlin's whole 21st birthday celebration weekend...oh, and let's not forget the sharing of my washer and dryer, causing a tremendous back up of laundry. Nevertheless, it is done and now that the weather has turned cooler, I can get up in the mornings, light a fire, turn the Christmas tree lights on and savor this holiday season while sipping the day's first cup of coffee. Decorations can be found strategically placed on most surfaces around here and as I look upon those knick knacks, some ancient and others new, I can't help but recall the memories most invoke.
On one counter top sits framed photos of Christmases past. Photos of my children. As I look at their precious little chubby faces, I cannot help but remember the twinkle in their eyes and excitement in the air as they anticipated Santa's arrival. From Christmas books to vintage elves and peppermint candles, the house has a festive air about it. But the one thing that captures one's eye and my heart, is the simple nativity scene that sits upon an antique desk in my den.
As carefully as I try to put this nativity scene away each year, it ended up with a little crack on the bottom of one of the pieces. That small imperfection did not keep me from placing it where I could view it each day of this blessed season; allowing it to remind me of the true meaning of Christmas. Several years ago (during one of our moves, I'm sure), I began unwrapping this set only to find that Baby Jesus was missing! How could that be and how could I even think of displaying it with the most important person in the scene missing? Try as I might, I just could not ever locate him that year. I decided to display it anyway. Every day, I would glance toward that nativity and think about the missing baby and wonder where he was. That made me wonder something else in the process; what IS Christmas without the baby? For Christians everywhere, the miraculous birth of the Christ Child is the "center" of Christmas. So, as I looked at the wise men and shepherds and angels each day, I thought about that missing baby and what my life (and the lives of other believers) would be like without the Christ child. It would be just like my nativity...empty, bare, missing a vital part. I would be continually searching for something very important that SHOULD be there and wasn't; just like that missing baby.
At the end of the holiday season that year, I made my trek back up to the attic to get the boxes to pack all of my decorations up for another year. While up there, I came upon a box of forgotten decorations that had gotten shoved to the back of the attic. As I opened the lid and began to dig through the box, I came upon the missing Baby Jesus. There he was looking up at me. He had been there all along. Apparently, in my haste to put things away the previous year, I had moved him. Relieved at this discovery, I quickly picked him up and took him downstairs to the nativity scene that had been noticeably void of the most important part all season long. As I continued to pack all of the other Christmas items away, I allowed him to be reunited with his wise men and shepherds and angels. Then, at last, I carefully took each piece of that nativity set off of my desk, wrapped them individually and placed them all within the same box. The next year, I would have no problem displaying a COMPLETE nativity scene. For, although this set was merely a "decoration" of the season, missing the Christ Child made me realize the importance of his entrance into this world for his many followers and how empty our lives would be without him.