There is something almost magical about decorating a home for Christmas; watching a house transform from an everyday surrounding, into a glittering work of holiday art.
Families treasure time spent together, adorning their homes with trees, lights, and ornaments. Memories made this time of year last for a lifetime.
For many families, as soon as the turkey leftovers are put away, the decoration boxes are brought out. They are ready to move on from Thanksgiving, straight into Christmas.
This year, it seems, Christmas has come even earlier. Many people had their homes prepared for the holidays as soon as the calendar showed the month of November. After a hard year, somehow the glow of Christmas lights brings comfort, quiet, peace.
But why are people so anxious to experience the feelings this season conjures? Is there more to it than just the fun of the traditions, and the beauty of the decorations? Why can Christmas stir our hearts the way it does?
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
I can’t say for sure, but I think it is because this time of year, for just a short season, the light of the Savior is in the forefront of our minds and hearts.
For those of us who are already believers in Jesus Christ, we recognize the importance of this time. We remember the story of how He came into the world, mostly unnoticed, a helpless baby in a manger. We know that was just the beginning of His purpose, His ministry on earth, and ultimately His death on the cross and resurrection.
It is most appropriate then, that Christmas should follow right after Thanksgiving. After all, more than any of the other blessings that we have to be thankful for, (and there are so many), the greatest gift humanity has ever received was when God sent His son on that first Christmas Day.
Even little children can recognize the importance of what Jesus has done for us. My sons have started learning to pray out loud. Their prayers usually go something like this:
“Thank you, God, for mommy, and daddy, and my brother, and our dog. Thank you for food and water. Thank you for our house and our cozy beds to sleep in. Thank you for our toys. And thank you for Jesus dying on the cross to save us from our sins. Amen.”
But what about all of the people in the world who don’t know Jesus as their Savior and Lord? Why do even unbelieving hearts feel moved at the joy and peace of Christmas?
Maybe God in His great mercy and grace, reaches out every year at this time and makes His love so obvious, so glowing right in front of us, that more will grab hold of it. Perhaps it is a chance for those of us who do believe to spread the Good News of His birth, just as the angels and shepherds did that first Christmas.
“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”
Maybe now is the perfect time to tell a hurting world that the longing they feel in their hearts can’t really be filled with seasonal decorations, gifts, and lights. It can only be satisfied with the light of Christ and the gift of saving grace offered to all who would trust in Him.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:”
We call this time of year, “Advent”, as we wait for the arrival of Jesus. We decorate our homes is if preparing for the most joyful birthday party there ever was. We sing songs, and prepare special meals. We celebrate the story of His birth, the first time He came to earth. We also look forward to the time in the future when He will come again, not as a baby, but as the King of Kings.
The world is waiting too; for joy, for peace, for safety, for hope. People decorate in anticipation of a holiday maybe not even realizing that what their heart is really waiting for, is the Savior.
As we make ready our houses for the arrival of Christmas, let us remember that this holiday means so much more than gifts, cookies, and ornaments. A home decorated for Christmas is a beautiful sight. But even more precious, more beautiful, is one who is ready to welcome in the light of Christ, the hope of eternal life, the Savior of the world. This year, may you have more than just a home decorated for Christmas. May you have a heart decorated for Christ.