Christmas decorating used to be one of my favorite things in the world to do. Our old house had an enormous open floor plan and nine-foot ceilings. The kitchen and living room were one combined area, and it was painted a deep red – loud in some homes, but because of the size of this house, the red worked to keep it from being overwhelming.
And the red was stunning at Christmas time! White lights twinkled from the five large back windows and wrapped around the evergreen encircled railing leading upstairs. The piano was covered with a fuzzy white cloth (aka “snow”) and displayed our lit up old-fashioned Heritage Christmas houses, the little multicolored ceramic Christmas tree a student had given me, and a mirrored pond with skaters circling around. Handmade stockings hung by the glowing fire and the aroma of freshly baked cookies greeted anyone who happened to drop by.
In truth, our house was not quite the idyllic picture I presented. Even before, I had four small children and was often the only adult around while my husband worked all the time. We had built our home ourselves to save money, and it still needed a lot of work. In addition to caring for the children and all that goes with cooking, cleaning, and driving them places, I was home painting and building when I could. My ex had just begun to make top salary before he left so money was often tight in the early years. Our furniture consisted of old hand-me-downs, and I had sewn the slipcovers and curtains myself.
Yes, if I were to be honest, the house was less than perfect even after Christmas decorating, but the hope of it being perfect one day, of being the idyllic Normal Rockwell, Thomas Kincaid style Christmas house, was there.
And maybe that’s what many of us have to break free from this yet again year the hope that things would look perfect one day, that vision of how things are “supposed to be,” or how they were before. That is not what the Hope of Christmas is all about.
This year, make it a goal, write it down, live to achieve it every day. Make the Hope of your Christmas decorating not be the number of lights hung around the house, the lovely (but painted) Normal Rockwell look of your family gathered around the kitchen, or the stockings hung by a glowing fireplace, but let the Hope be the light and love and glow you, as the leader of your family, show your children and your world.
Allow yourself to let go of Christmas memories and false hopes and see that the truest Christmas decorating is done internally with the light, love, and glow of that baby born in a stable long ago. By accepting, believing, and sharing the Love He had for you, you let the true meaning of Christmas shine from your heart for all to see, and this miraculously opens you up to receive the reflection of a greater light, love, and glow shining back upon you as well.
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