Saturday, November 29, 2014

starting Christmas simple

it's like this every year.
we finish our turkey and turn our hearts and our homes immediately toward christmas.

and i like that.
i like the order of the events. the expectation. the tradition.

i'm pretty sure i'll never be a gal who agrees to put up her christmas before carving the bird.
(not a thing wrong with that, mind you ... just how i'm wired).

and so yesterday -- the day after thanksgiving -- the trees came in.
two of them.
and the house filled with that heavenly mixture of holiday pine and hollering children excitement.

in classic, chaotic, large family style, we took on the trees.
the littlest ones helped us wrap lights -- assembly line work around all this gorgeous green.
the oldest son sprawled beneath taking orders from his dad.
"a little to the left. back to the right. straighten it out. screw it in. careful now."

the teen girls took snapchats and selfies and instagram photos while offering opinions about the location and best side and the overall effect.

and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
the trees were in.
the lights were on.
and christmas could commence.

and that's all we accomplished -- only trees in and lights on.

my 11 year old must have asked no less than 26 times,"tomorrow mom? tomorrow we are going to do all the other stuff, right?"  tomorrow we are going to decorate the whole house, like everything, like lights and other stuff, right mom? tomorrow?"

when i crashed, tired on the couch, he capitalized on the opportunity to slide his ipad under my nose with picture after picture of grand outdoor lighting displays from houses around the country.
what we COULD do.
"look at these, mom ... can you imagine if we did this, mom? wow. just think if we did all this, mom. wouldn't it be something if we did this, mom? 
... mom, can we do something kind of like this?"

trust me, the griswold christmas house had nothing on these pictures.

but this morning, sitting here with nothing more than some white lights twinkling and a warm fire blazing i am enjoying the simplicity of just this.

and i feel that same strong desire, which comes every year ... to keep it simple.
to add nothing more.
to stop right here.

we have crates upon crates upon crates of christmas stuff in our basement. and yet, for this brief quiet morning, i kind of want to pause at this spot of green tree, white lights and fire blazing.


it's not the grinch in me rising up ... but the grace in the moment showing up.

there's beauty to be found in simple.
there's quiet.
there's calm.
there's peace.

what if we chose to forget the hoopla and the must-haves and the many shopping lists and the multi-colored, glittery gobs of stuff we get lost in?

what if we did it different.

just as Jesus came to us  -- different.

“and this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in 

swaddling cloths and lying in a manger …” ~ luke 2:12

i know everyone was expecting a king in royal robes to show up ...
but, instead, the Savior of the world arrived as a baby in swaddling cloths.

everyone must have imagined the most amazing palace, the most ornate kind of cradle ...
but mary laid his head in nothing more than a rough wooden manger ... in a stable.

and in the start of 2014 christmas, that verse speaks deeply to me.

the swaddling cloths.
the manger.
the stable.

the Savior.

the beautiful simplicity of what really matters.

and, yes, today ... i will begin pulling out some of those crates ... (perhaps not all of them). and we will add some festive ribbon and garland and ornaments. we will embrace and enjoy a little bit of the fun christmas chaos. of course we will ...

now i see you shaking your heads. and you're right. i, too, realize we can only keep things so simple for so long. i mean can you imagine if we didn't pull out the 8 tiny reindeer and the giant inflatable snowman? can you imagine what connor mcnatt might say if we don't cover every single bush of our front yard with twinkling white lights?

no, of course we will.

but right now ... in this quiet, dark morning. 
in this moment. 
i will enjoy ... only this.

1 comment:

Jane Klingenberg said...

Hi Jody:

I so enjoyed "escaping" from our hospital room to enjoy your post: both your words and the simple photos soaked right into my very soul.

We traditionally get our tree (cut it down) on this Saturday after Thanksgiving. We, too, typically end things after getting the white lights on. I like enjoying the simplicity of that, too.

This year I bought myself a tiny little wooden box that says, simply, "O come let us adore Him". I plopped that little reminder smack-dab on the window sill above my kitchen sink, where I can see it many times a day... at least when I am at home. My heart is longing for a simpler Christmas this year.

Thank you for sharing your gift of writing. I am blessed every time you do.