Scaling Down

So a thing happened. You know those pre-lit trees that are so fantastic? You know the ones where you pull it out of the box and it just works without having to worry about stringing tangled lights unevenly throughout the artificial tree? Well, they’re great until the top 2/3 of your tree decides to go out. So we went out and got a new tree (also pre-lit, so expect another post in a few years) but we got one smaller.

I’ve been known to embody Charlie Brown in my life, but this tree fits perfectly in our small home. It’s not too bulky or unwieldy. To me, it’s perfect.

On an unrelated note, I just read a passage in Luke where Jesus goes through an clears out the Temple. I started thinking, though… How would Jesus approach us in our own churches? (Pulling out entirely the fact that we celebrate the birth, the Incarnation, only once per year) how would Jesus look on our decorations in our churches and homes during this season?

Again, I enjoy decorations, and have my house decorated as we speak. But there is an idea we can use – simplicity. It seems to me as a culture we continue to add more and more to Christmas every year – starting the season earlier and earlier, trying to add a new “classic” song, etc.

I love this season because, if you look for it, there’s a peace, a calm, an anticipation that is hidden just under the surface. I find it in music and in the cloudy days my part of the country has this time of year. The grey skies signal that colder weather is coming, and time for reflection and a new start are around the bend. And music. I love Christmas music. Just not the pre-packaged pop flavor that gets played on the soft rock station.

I find that Christmas really hits for me when listening to songs like “Personent Hodie”, “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”, “O Magnum Mysterium”, “O Come O Come Emmanuel”, and others like them. (There is another song between my mother and I, but it’s kind of an inside the family thing.) But these songs trigger a sense of calm, of peace, of anticipation.

I guess I say all of that to say this: simplify your Christmas. There is more joy in one night at home sipping egg nog, listening to a Christmas album, and snuggling with the family decorating a tree or reading “Twas the Night” together than in any number of events, parties, or other distractions.

I hope your Advent season is full of joy, peace, and anticipation of the celebration of Jesus’ birth!

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