November 26, 2005

The most wonderful time of the year....

Thanksgiving is over and it caught me a little off guard. My plan was to put up the Christmas tree today, but the man of the house was ready to do it yesterday. It's a good thing when a husband wants to get decorating done and I'm not about to argue!

We never put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving least not that I remember. The thing I remember about the day after Thanksgiving is getting up before dawn cracks (which is before God gets up, btw) and standing in long lines in the cold dark morning to go Christmas shopping. Standing in line to shop! Oh, the pain! We always got it mostly done though in one day and that was worth it. Things have changed now. Our oldest daughter is in college, we have 2 teenage girls and an 8 year old girl. These ages are a little hard to buy for, except the 8 year old. She wants roller skates, some Barbie movie and a 'rescue animal'....whatever that is. It turns out, the man of the house took it upon himself to order some mail order Christmas gifts for some of them. HUGE relief! loves him and is always sending him coupons and love notes. lol

I usually use the day after Thanksgiving to shop til noon (that's 7 hours of shopping when you begin at 5am!), then clean house and take down Fall decorations in preparation for Christmas decorations! I love the Christmas season...a whole month dedicated to celebration and awe. I think it is appropriate decadence for the celebration of the Incarnation! As I have studied Jewish holidays for the Messianic meanings hidden there, I am surprised by the lavish way they celebrated and enjoyed. (For some reason I always thought of Jewish folks as solemn and serious...wrong!)

And it is quite wonderful to see our whole country...the country that wants to ban the words Jesus and Christianity from it's vocabulary....actually celebrating with us Christians lavishly! As much as 'they' try to make it a 'winter holiday', the world doesn't easily forget that it is the Savior's birth we celebrate. As you walk through the mall or Walmart or see Christmas specials on TV, listen and hear Jesus being sung about in traditional carols and images of the creche scene out there in the secular world. I don't think 'they' will be able to totally secularize this holiday.

Because of our woodstove, which we love and gather around daily, we cannot have a real tree anymore. The year we got the woodstove, our Christmas tree disintegrated before our eyes as it dried to a crisp. The needles would cascade down every time your walked by it or touched it. By Christmas day we were praying that no one would light a match within a few feet of it and misting it with water each apologies to any hand painted ornaments we had. =(

So instead of hunting for the perfect tree, bundling it up on the roof of the car, sawing off the base and trying to prop it up to balance in the tottering stand so it wouldn't topple (and it did at least one year), we go to the shed and drag the huge box that houses our brand spanking new artificial tree into the house, hoping it's cold enough outside to prevent any spiders from coming in with it. (that was on long sentence baby...maybe a new record!) Once it is up and decorated, I am not so disappointed, but seeing our Christmas tree come out of a box, all in color coded pieces is just not right. So I try to hide while the man of the house and the girls put it up. And it is a pretty one...people always come closer and feel it before asking if it is fake...but it's still not right in my eyes. There is no Christmas smell or the job of watering the base or exploring between the branches for critters or pine bare spaces to cover or balancing act to entertain us, no comparing how this tree is better than last year's tree.....since it looks exactly the same each year now. Then we look at the fire crackling in the woodstove and's worth it I guess. *pout*

Today I will be taking down all my Fall decorations amid the already strewn around Christmas fluff all over the place. I will pack away all my tiny colored corns and fake leaves, my pumpkin candy dish (which we actually just found yesterday tucked into a Christmas box! I can't tell you how I searched high and low for that thing in October.), my scarecrow, my corncob basket and cornucopia. I'll more carefully pack away my cornhusk pilgrim and Indians, since the pilgrims were kind of squished and falling over when I got them out this year....had to prop them against a pumpkin. And I'll throw out my tiny gourds and pumpkins, which did NOT mold this year...yay. I will pull down my Fall door hanging and put up a wreath, scrape out the candy corn bits from the candy dish (not the pumpkin one, a Christmas one...since I couldn't find it) and put out Christmas hard candy.

I hope you enjoy the Christmas season this year. No matter what hardships we've been through or where the months have taken us, seeing the twinkle lights, wreaths, and beautiful city streets decorated will inspire you to turn your thoughts to the wonderful, unspeakable joy of the Incarnation. God came to earth, to dwell with us.....celebrate!

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail, the incarnate deity
Pleased as Man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.

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