Have you decorated yet for Christmas? Some years I have broken out the decorations before Thanksgiving! Not so this year. It has been busier than I had intended. Alas, my outdoor Christmas lights still rest in a plastic bin in my garage. The electric deer--that should be in the yard--are still in boxes. And the wreaths for the coach lamps by the garage door? Yep. You guessed it...still snuggled against one another in yet one more box.
Does all this mean my Christmas season is a bust? Not at all. It just means that my house may not be quite as beautifully decorated as my neighbors. But my daughter and I were talking this week. The conversation went something like this:
"Imagine if houses were lit up according to their witness of the Savior. What would each neighborhood look like?"
The question got me thinking. If my house were lit purely by our love for the Lord, how bright would it be? While that is a private question for each individual to determine on his or her own, I think it is something worth pondering.
A home may be piled with gifts, strewn with tinsel and evergreen garlands, full of delightful ginger and cinnamon baking in tasty dishes, but if screaming, quarreling, or hurtful comments are hurled at one another...what then of Christmas?
President Uchtdorf recently gave an address for the 2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional (you can find a link to it here). He titled his remarks "Of Curtains, Contentment, and Christmas." He told the story of how as a young boy he accidentally caught curtains in his house on fire, due to Christmas candles. He was so grateful that his parents handled the situation with the true spirit of Christmas...in other words, in the true spirit of Christ and love. Was the scorched room something they had to deal with? Yes. But they remembered they were dealing with a person, not a problem.
President Uchtdorf then went on to encourage us all to celebrate the real spirit of Christmas by remembering Christ and by showing this in how we approach a most tender and beautiful of season.
So, while it is embarrassing to me that I don't have my exterior Christmas decorations up, I realize in listening to President Uchtdorf that I still feel the spirit of the season by remembering the reason for which we celebrate. Because the Lord was willing to come to earth as a small Babe, we are redeemed by His mighty grace!
Next year I hope to get my decorations out in time to put them up long before Christmas day. But in the meantime, I plan to live my life in such a way that if my home were lit purely by faith...perhaps my home would glow bright enough for even the angels to see.