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Since childhood, my eyes have gleamed at the enormous jewel descending at the close of each year. Confetti blizzards and cheers herald the fresh start we hope will bring us toward a better life. Though we mark time’s passage with electronic calendars and clocks each hour of the year, New Year’s Eve takes the celebration to a magical level.

We list regrets, praying the late hours do not slip away with our dreams. Repentance and resolutions blare across the earth like millions of paper horns. The hour of second chances and fresh starts stirs the world to effervesce with promises.

Time, our guest of honor on this holiday, soon erodes the passions offered to it. Commitments fail and hope fades before the next holiday colors our calendar.

I still enjoy New Year’s Eve. Instead of honoring the passage of time, I celebrate the One Who holds time in His hands. As millions cheer at the glittering crystal globe, I rejoice and thank God He will never drop the ball. His promises of redemption never fail. The brilliance of hope born at Christmas does not fade with the turn of a calendar page. In the eternal Kingdom, each day offers an opportunity to celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Pentacost all at once. As an heir to everlasting life, I know His dreams for me will prevail against the entropy of time. What better reason to ring in the coming year with soul-deep joy?

A wide bow, sparkling with polka dots adorns a package on my desk. I know its contents, since I opened it two weeks ago. Too pretty to resist, I rewrapped the gift box and set it near my monitor as an eye-tickler. I adore gift ribbon–wire-edged gossamers, thin curling strands, or smooth satins–any sort triggers delight. Anticipation heightens the impact of a present when it comes tied together in joyful bows.

No one can match the divine packaging of God’s most glorious gift. Eternal life descended on a beam of miraculous starlight and wrapped itself in the Christ child. At first glance, some might have been distracted by the rags or hay. But graver hindrances followed.

Soon after the nativity, horrors of mass infanticide overwhelmed the land. Grief pierced their hearts. God’s perfect gift lay right among them, but circumstances drew attention away from His presence.

Evil seeks to hamper the ability to recieve life.  Many fail to recognize priceless joy amid bleak circumstances. Despite pain and tragedy threatening to blind us, this gift of life  remains here for each and all, complete with radiant bows.

Jesus gathers the world together in love ribbons, the most beautiful binding agent ever designed. He planted Himself among the deepest pain and coldest hopelessness in humanity. Tendrils of life exploded from His heart, spilling over the earth to draw us together in Him and to our Father.

With this unfathomable gift, we dwell within the heart of our Sovereign Lord and connect with His beloved children as siblings. In the midst of our suffering, we unite through His suffering. Our love binds us to Him in divine strength and we conquer the dark plot of evil as we hold fast to one another in radiant bows.

 “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17).

I stepped back from the tree. Sparking garland. Angel ornaments. Glass icicles. Red, cream, and silver baubles. The real tree I’d waited years to bring home had all its decor, complete with the heavenly host on top. I had bought eggnog to complement the snowflake cookies I’d made that afternoon, imagining we’d share them after adorning the tree together. The tree and cookies paired for a Rockwell scene, but  without the coziness. Something was missing.

My teenage son tromped downstairs, taking a break from the computer. “Cookies ready?”

“Does the tree look bare to you?” I asked.

He shrugged at it on his way to the kitchen. “Looks fine, Mom.”

I asked my husband the same question.

He glanced back at it from his recliner. “Looks very pretty. You have an artistic eye.”

At least I had an opportunity to pick the tree out with my older son–some shared moment of Christmas. Each member of my family would have helped with the decor if I pleaded, but the season seemed to have lost its luster in their eyes. I felt alone in my spirit of celebration, and it grieved me.

During my devotions the next morning, an idea occurred to me. What if we decorated the tree with gifts to the Lord? Would the true meaning of Christmas resound in our home again with joy and excitement?

I put the nativity stable in an open box and buried it in little faux package ornaments with a note attached. Each time we give or receive kindness, compassion, grace, or mercy, we place a gift on the tree to commemorate the way the Lord was honored that day. My note requests, “Please help me make room for Christ this Christmas.”

I thought it would be easy to exhume the nativity scene, but progress has proven more gradual than I hoped. We’ll see how it goes. Whether or not you cover your stables, will you join me in trying to make room for Christ at your house, too? Let me know how it works out for you. I believe any effort to share His heart will bring missing light into our homes.

Wondrous eyes peer into the glass orb, longing to exist within it. Iridescent dust floats through a world only habitable by childlike imaginations. They’ve always captivated mine. Snow globes blend relevant truth with magical shimmers. The scenes tug at my spirit, and a yearning for snowflakes bursts forth.

I pulled up a recipe for snowflake cookies, desperate to unleash flurries inside my home. What draws me to these crystalline droplets, and why do they seem to perfect the Christmas season?

Unique. Despite tons upon thousands of tons flurried over the face of the earth, each snowflake differs from its sisters. Composed of the same matter, snow’s strength lies in its alignment. Its brilliant artistry shimmers from idiosyncrasies. Snowflakes remind us of our individual significance in the eyes of our Creator. He loves us all and gathers us together. At the same time, He loves us each. Christ laid Himself in a manger to rescue mankind, and continues to reach out with nail-scarred hands to redeem each man.

White. Every snowflake remains pure until it touches the earth. We yearn for freedom from sin, for the purity and levity to exist as those created of living water adrift on the breath of God. Christmas brings us hope for free, abundant life as our Creator intended.

Heavenly. Beauty raining down from the skies reflects the love showered upon us in the nativity. Our Father adored us with unbridled passion. Angelic visitations, divine choirs, and unprecedented starlight provided a backdrop for the generous gift of Christ. Who loves us so much that He would not even withhold His only Son? No one but God would love with such extravagance.

Refreshing.  Light snowfall tucks the dreary earth under a blanket. Though cool, it insulates those beneath it. Muddy tracks vanish, and the world appears as a whitened landscape. Christmas offers a time of renewal. The Prince of Peace refreshes those who snuggle into His arms.

Although I live in the tropics, I’m thankful for His snowstorms over me this Christmas. More glorious than any fantasy’s magic, I’m filled with wonder at the flurries before my eyes. Anybody else want cookies with that?

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