Thanksgiving came and went like a whirlwind of traveling, family, church commitments, and food. Lots of food. Trying to wrap my mind around the thought of already entering another Christmas season, I thought about the piles of boxes and clutter that had been loaded up in my attic storage this summer, all in front of the Christmas tree and décor that contained everything needed to create the holiday spirit. I put it off as long as possible, but for some reason my children were anxiously awaiting to get that tree up. So, I took a deep breath and headed up the stairs where my project awaited me.
Unpacking the ornaments, all I could think about was all the things outside of that box that needed to get done. The laundry was piled a mile high from the Thanksgiving travels. School lessons needed to be prepared for the rest of the week. Writing articles were due. Church lessons needed to be studied. And yet, here I was, stringing ribbon across a tree and unpacking ornaments to hang upon this well-traveled tree. Surely the never ending list of things to do should override all this extra fluff.
A young family that is staying with us right now joined us this year in this annual ritual. The two year was dancing around unable to contain her joy. Her mother scolded her, as every time I climbed the ladder to adjust a ribbon, she would follow me up, so excited to help her Auntie A trim the tree. She could hardly wait for me to get the ornaments out of the box before she would grab them and dance them over to the tree, set them upon a branch, and sit with a smile on her face for the proud work she did or telling mommy how “preeddy” the object was. She squealed with excitement when the lights were lit up and made sure everyone stopped to look at the beauty of the tree that so faithfully reminds us Christ’s birthday is soon to be celebrated. I couldn’t help but smile at the wonderment that she was experiencing, perhaps for the very first time.
And God’s soft voice spoke to me later that evening as I sat alone with the house lights down low and just the glimmer of the lights on the tree lighting the room. Somehow the lights seem to say to me don’t forget to enjoy the shiny objects. Don’t be so caught up in all the cares of this world that you forget the magic of the season. Christmas can be a lonely and hard time for some. It can be tempting to not even participate in the hub bub of the season. But the Christ Child was not born into this world to be forgotten. No, He came so that we could have Hope. That Hope would overcome the world! That you and I could lay down our heavy load and know that this small baby now lies in that manger would very soon carry my load and yours to the cross. And because of this, our burden is light. The magic of the season.
I’m thankful for the shiny objects that interrupt me during this busy season. I pray that I can allow myself to be distracted, even just for a brief moment, and make beautiful memories with those I can be the light to this season. I challenge you to take time to be distracted by shiny objects too. Hope is always found there.