We have never decorated for Christmas this early.
Before Thanksgiving – yes, but not ever this far before the last Thursday of November.
Last Thursday, I really cleaned the house. I scrubbed and dusted. I swept and mopped. I did laundry and I cleaned out the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Let me assure you I do regularly do these things but I don’t usually do them all on the same day.
Last Friday, I packed up the last of the pumpkins and fall decor. I prepped the black and orange storage tubs for their attic hibernation. After a pizza supper, Wally and I slid and shifted the furniture. Then we began awaking the red and green storage tubs from their attic deep sleep.
Over the weekend, all five of us worked to adorn the house for the holidays. The Christmas trees are up. My snowman collection has overtaken every available space from the bathroom to the kitchen including every flat surface in between. Nativity scenes of stone, wood, glass, fabric and ceramic can be found among the twinkling lights and carrot noses.
On Sunday night, a full week and a half before Turkey Day, I went to bed with my house decorated for the holidays. My heart was full. This was an intentional decision I made and I will not apologize for it.
The thing is, I decided a few years ago that Thanksgiving was the perfect holiday to kickstart the “Happy Holidays” that we wish for everyone to have. I have intentionally used this first Holiday of the big three to orient my heart and mind toward the Giver of all good things – so I can celebrate the birth of His Son AND face the New Year with hope in Him.
This year the purposeful early decorating has been even more deliberate.
I realized in early September that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year is decidedly shorter. I read or heard somewhere in early October that in fact there are 6 fewer days between the two holidays this year. I looked at my calendar in early November and faced that this missing week is a really big deal.
All the mommas out there are keenly aware of how busy the holiday season is. Some years it seems like I’m sprinting a marathon just to get to Christmas evening to finally, fully enjoy and reflect on everything that has happened. Lots of lists. Lots of expectations. Lots of good things that require lots to do.
I know Wally was surprised as he joking said this time last week, “Let’s get out Christmas!” and I responded with, “That’s the weekend plan!”
In all transparency, it did feel like a chore at first, something that had to be done or it might not get done, a “have to” instead of a “get to.”
But, as I played Christmas-themed worship music, my heart softened. I prayed and asked God that this would be a beginning, that I would not miss ANY of the significance of ANY of the holidays this year, that I would not be a slave to the lists, the expectations or the good things, and that my heart would soak and savor all the He would have for me through this season.
I am continuing to pray that I can continue to be just as intentional as the next six or so weeks go flying by. I am continuing to ask God to allow me to set the best example for my children as to what this season is truly all about. I am continuing to pray for the faith to trust Him to answer these holiday prayers.
Decorating “early” for Christmas is exactly what I needed to orient my heart for all the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. This perspective is precisely the prerequisite my soul required of me to be in the this place to observe each holiday in a way that I will be edified, my family will be encouraged and God will be exalted in our home.
Decorating for Christmas this year has been a gift of His grace. I am SO thankful.
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