Yesterday I spoke of how I used to decorate for Christmas, the twinkling lights, the Christmas village on the piano, the stockings hung by the fireplace.
Ahhh… the perfect Christmas scene!
As I look around our current house, I am amazed at the style of Christmas decorating we have sunk to. Our house is much smaller and more cramped now, which means it always looks a bit cluttered. At Christmas time, this cluttered look can get even worse since every surface has already been taken up with something we use every day and then we throw decorations on top of it.
Maybe this is why, after putting up the initial decorations, the remaining items were left sitting in the middle of the living room floor for the past week. Oh yes, we pick them up and move them from one spot to another. We gently kick them to the side to clear a space to walk, and sometimes, when I’m tutoring, we even bag them up and put them in the corner, telling ourselves they are cleaned up and out of sight for the afternoon.
We are fooling no one but ourselves; that messy pile of Christmas decorations is still sitting there adding to our cluttered lives.
At some point in the middle of the night, I woke up with a Eureka Moment! Duh! I didn’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before, but at least part of the stress I’ve been feeling lately has to have been caused by that pile of Christmas decorations!
I have been trying to recreate what we used to have in our much bigger house. I have been trying to use all of the old wrappings and bows and lights and shiny things that used to cover a much bigger area in our much smaller space.
And I guess I succeeded. All of those things do cover our house now – literally! If you think the fact that it looks like Macy’s threw up a pile of Christmas vomit on our living room floor means I have succeeded decorating for Christmas, then I guess I have.
If you think that a decorative pile of Christmas vomit just looks like a mess, well then it just looks like a mess, and I’d have to agree. Even with five boys, lowering my standards over the years, and getting used to messes, this Christmas mess still stress me out.
And so today, with just a tinge of sadness, but with a relief that will greatly outweigh that sadness, I will clean up the Christmas vomit. I will sweep up every last bead. I will throw out every (now crushed) bow. I will carefully wrap every precious unused decoration and box them up for another year.
I will make room for the things I want to focus on showcasing what is truly of value to the boys and me, and we will be better for it.
Cutting back at Christmas does not just mean cutting back on gifts, it also means cutting back on things – including the Christmas vomit that has been getting in the way of peace and comfort in our home.
I am sure the Virgin Mary will not mind if we have fewer red bows if we are less tied up in them. I am sure the Father will not mind if we clear out the ornamental trains if we deliver His word to others instead. I am sure the Baby Jesus will not mind if we put away the glass Nativity in favor of the Fisher Price one if it means our children reenact His birth and understand the meaning of the true Love He gifts us with, and I am sure the holy Spirit will not mind lending us the strength to haul away the boxes of stuff to make room for our spiritual gifts.
And so, I will be cleaning up the Christmas vomit and decorating our home with less stuff and more Christmas Love and the Hope that is the true Light of the season.