The best thing I’ve heard this year about Christmas is that you can’t mess it up because it’s not about you (Holley Gerth, Coffee for your Heart blog). It’s been somewhat bittersweet for me this year as I just lost my sweet mamma two months ago. I sit and wonder what it’s like for her to celebrate Christmas in the presence of the Lord…which in turn got me thinking about ways to keep my focus on HIM this season.
Sometimes it’s the tiniest ones that show us what Christmas should be all about. My twenty month old grandson, Benny, taught me something this year. I had the grandkids helping me decorate the tree and was amused to watch their reaction as I handed them the ornaments. I thought the things that would be of interest to little Ben would be the train, or the snowman, or the wagon or the sleigh…but to my surprise, he seemed captured by the star. After he left that first night of decorating, I decided to hang that star on my mantel with other matching decorations. The next time he came, he looked all around the tree and then looked up and pointed at the mantel….”tar, tar”, he said. After I realized he wanted the star, I took it down and gave it to him. He was delighted. Now the star has a special spot, down low on the tree where he can get it each time he comes over.
The thing I learned from Benny that day was to look UP! Beginning…and ending… each day by looking up helps me to set my mind and heart on the Lord and his peace. When things get hectic and I get anxious about plans or to-do lists or food preparation or overloaded schedules, it’s soothing to me to simply pause, and look up.
Looking up is especially important when problems crop up, or conflicts or negative news or fears or just plain darkness threaten to steal my joy! I want to be able to shine the light of Christ to those around me. As Ann Voskamp wrote recently (on the blog, A Holy Experience) “The dark is about bravely being a canvas for light-about courageously letting your dark be a canvas for sparks of God’s glory, a backdrop for ambers of mercy in the midst of your fire”.
Philippians 2:14-15 “Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world”.
Yes Benny boy, the ornament you choose as your favorite is what I want to focus on this year.