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.