"It's coming on Christmas.
They're cutting down trees.
They're putting up reindeer,
and singing songs of joy and peace.
Oh I wish I had a river
to skate away on..." --Joni Mitchell
It's coming on Christmas. Already the melancholy has crept in, and it isn't even Thanksgiving. I've been thing about what I want for Christmas, what I could give. Ann Voskamp found the words that express my heart's yearing, "You don't want a Christmas you can buy. You don't want a Christmas you can make. What you want is a Christmas you can hold. A Christmas that holds you, remakes you, revives you. You want a Christmas that whispers, Jesus."
Of course pressures come with the season, just as sure as carols and twinkling lights appear. And I feel these thoroughly worldly cares trying to crowd out the Story. Trying to make Christmas about the presents I can't afford to buy. Or the decorations I can't afford to either buy or make. And that's not what it's about.
So, this year, I'm making it a point to give only what I can, and to make sure that includes the Greatest Gift: Jesus. I want a Baby for Christmas, the mystery of the Word made flesh. I want to hold Him, because never fails to hold me.
Last night I decorated our tiny tree with dollar store ornaments. I'd rather have a huge, real tree with all the trimmimngs, ornaments from years past, full of holy sentiment. But I didn't have that. I have what I have, my first Nativity set and a three foot tinsel tree.
I tried to make the best of it, and I did. I got heart shaped ornaments for God's love, and "joy" ornaments, and doves in flight for the work of the Holy Spirit, and I got stars, so that I'd be wise enough to seek the Lord. The tree is little but pretty, a tiny still life of grace in a ghetto life.
Isn't God good? You can make a lot of a little, and he shows up as if you had so much more. My sister and I decorated the tree, and the kids popped in and out and for a few moments, listening to Christmas music, I didn't want to skate away on a river. I wanted to be there for it all, even with lingering sadness, because after all, it's coming on Christmas. And I keep seeing joy in my decorations.
I hope we can enjoy the journey to Christmas Day together, us with our fish and loaves holy day and Jesus and each other.
That's all we need.