I walked out to get our newspaper the morning after Thanksgiving and was surprised to see a long line of pick up trucks in line down the road from where we live. It took a few seconds for it to register what day it was... the day the Christmas tree farm opens for customers.
I had to leave for the grocery store soon after but I noticed on my way home that the field next to the farm was full of trucks and cars. Apparently, many people needed a little Christmas this year and cutting down their own tree was definitely the way to begin it.
I admit to having mixed feelings about Christmas this year. On one hand, it has been a dark year and the lights and sparkle of Christmas would be good for the soul. On the other, I wasn't in the Christmas mood. Normally, I would be baking cookies for the freezer already while Christmas music played in the background. This year I have not listened to one song. Nothing. Not, yet...
However, I did know that there was one Christmas decoration I wanted and that was my Christmas tree. I adore dark December mornings sipping the first cup of coffee by the light of the tree. So, I moved the vintage picnic basket on which an equally vintage graniteware container holds a couple large plants to the Study.
That cleared the space for the Christmas tree but it was two days later that I finally pulled the tree off the shelves in the garage. It was assembled and then the next day, the lights and wooden cranberry strands and ornaments were placed carefully on each branch. It took another day to find which container held the handmade "angel" that tops the tree.
Normally, I pull every Christmas Rubbermaid container off the shelves in one enormous decorating frenzy. Not this year, it was a little at a time decorating... not only so I didn't get tired but because I was tired in another way. My soul was tired.
I told my husband that I was just going to display a few favorite Christmas items this year but as I pulled the decorations out of the containers, I found the Christmas spirit returning. I still didn't display everything but there are far more decorations than I originally planned throughout the house.
It is a lesson I first learned a very long time ago and I need reminders now and then... sometimes when I do not feel like celebrating, the feelings will follow if I take that first step forward. I should have known putting much loved Christmas ornaments on the tree would lift my spirits, at least a little.
The next item to be displayed was the "log cabin" shown in the photo above from a previous Christmas. It is kind of an optical illusion for the back of the cabin is flat so it can sit next to the back of the shelf. However, it is a favorite decoration, an expensive item purchased many years ago on clearance very cheap because of a broken swing. I just glued the swing to the floor of the porch and made it a bench. ;)
So, the cabin is not only something I find pretty but when I look at it, it reminds me how God takes all the broken things and puts them back together in our lives to make something beautiful. Sometimes we can see the results immediately and there are a few times that I've known it will be in Eternity that I actually see the results. However... He always makes beauty from the broken things.
Now that the decorations are up, I'm more likely to bring out the Christmas music and movies. I already have a couple books set aside to peruse this week... stories from A Christmas Book by Elizabeth Goudge and No Holly For Miss Quinn by Miss Read.
There will be time this next week to contemplate the Word and how God has everything in His hands. I think we all need to ponder that more this year than ever before. A favorite verse is 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind".
It reminds me that if I'm feeling fear, it did not come from God. He never sends fear our way so that has to mean it comes from the enemy of our soul. Fear is a terrible taskmaster that can ruin our days but God has given us what we need to battle that fear.
Many have said that faith is the opposite of fear and we can rest on what Hebrews 11:1 reminds us of what faith is for the Christian, "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen". So, instead of pondering all sorts of scenarios in my mind, I can have faith that God has the future in the palm of His hand.
May the spirit of God bring you peace and love and joy and some sparkle in your life this week.
Mentioned in this Blog Post
Favorite Christmas books were mentioned in the last Book Talk post... here.