Jesse made fun of me, which is not unusual. This time she teased me and she told her friends that I had put a bow on the mailbox and that was the extent of my Christmas decorations. When she comes in from work, she usually does her Desi Arnaz impression, "Lucy, I’m home," but she this time added, "I see you have been decorating!"
Okay, I admit that I am not a big decorating person. I have not put a tree up or done any Christmas decorating since we moved into this house (three years or so). I have my reasons. First of all, this house is just so small. I hate to add to the cluster with a bunch of decorations. Second, I don’t really think all of decorations and to-do is necessary. I was freed from that stress a long time ago. If I choose, if I feel like it, I will put out decorations. If I feel stressed, I will not bother. When the kids were little, we always did a big tree with special ornaments. We would climb all over the Rocky Mountains looking for just the right tree, cut it down, and drag it home. That made for some special Christmas traditions. As I have mentioned in past years, Christmas in Red River with the snow, family and friends was just a wonderful special time. But after we opened gifts on Christmas morning, we usually hit the mountain for some skiing, and we went to work. Then the season was just too busy for much Christmas activities or sentiment. As a teenager, I often spent the holidays away from Mom and Dad, because I went to RR to work. Christmas could be special or it could be nothing. Maybe that set the stage for my Christmas attitude today.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the season and the parties and the family and the fun, but I hate the stress. And stress has become a big part of the Christmas season. For some reason people feel obligated to do lots of decorating, spend lots of money, buy gifts for people they don’t care about, etc. Why? Is it the "if you are a Christian, you must do this…" syndrome? Are we worried about what others think of us? There are those people who only go to church once or twice a year – Christmas and Easter. Do they think God is pleased with that? Do they even know what is pleasing to the Lord? For some reason, I really doubt God is pleased with people overspending their budget to buy useless things. I doubt He cares about Santa and the reindeer or how big your tree is or any other of the pagan things mixed up with the Christian religion. Do I think Christmas trees and Santa are bad things? Nope, they don’t bother me. They are just fun things. Like the Easter bunny and egg hunts, it is just a fun tradition. Are these things that God demands from us as His followers? Nope. Do these things distract us from real worship? Maybe so, but that is something each of you have to check your own heart about. So I don’t always do a big Christmas with lots of decorating and gifts. I don’t stress over it anymore. I truly believe it is not important to hold this one day of the year as more holy than any other. I think it is more important to live every day as a celebration that God sent His Son to live, and die, and live again for me.
Since Jesse has been feeling a bit melancholy since Lindz’ wedding, I thought she might appreciate some things from her past – some festive décor. Yesterday, I broke out the little tree from storage and put it up in the living room. I dragged out the box of ornaments and decorations. It was quite fun to un-wrap the ceramic ornaments that I painted the first year Toby and I were married. Then there were the ornaments from the different places we have lived and the ones people gave us over the years. It was fun to dig out the ornaments that the kids had made when they were little. I did enjoy putting up the tree. And I do like looking at it. It is good memories.
Also, Toby and I set down and made some cards to send. I was not going to bother with the Christmas cards this year, but what was I going to do with all those little paintings that I had done throughout the year? They won’t arrive before Christmas. But that is okay, because to me, they are more a celebration of friendship – a gift of love – and that can be expressed any day of the year.
PS, if you don't get a card and you want one, I probably do not have your snail mail. Just drop me an email with your snail mail, and I will try and get you a card.