Here I sit, with none but the lights of the Christmas tree. I’ve just come in from a silent night, where the Christmas lights illumine the snow falling like the finest fairy dust. My table hasn’t been cleared in days, littered with ornament packaging, cast-off strings of lights and an assortment of odds and ends. The green and red storage bins covered in a year’s worth of barn dust are stacked in various degrees of emptiness around the room. My winter village is still on stand-by, waiting to be pulled out of boxes and lit to bring good cheer.
I’m not sure it’s ever taken me this many days to fully decorate for Christmas. But right now, I don’t even care. It didn’t matter to me last night or the night before that. Because there’s living to do in the midst of it all. A very real life that has nothing to do with lights, ornaments, garland and tiny villages, but everything to do with people, problems, schedules, growing and giftedness. And I’m okay with that. I love Christmas. I love the lights, the smell of pine, the spiced apple cider, and baking. But I love it even more when I stop to take it all in, whatever all happens to be this year.
My dad used to tell me to always keep it simple. The more we make of the excess, the more likely we are to miss the point. God made Himself man and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory (John 1:14). That’s it. That’s the point. Without that, we’ve got nothing. GOD MADE HIMSELF MAN AND DWELT AMONG US! This is IT!! The great mystery, the great news, the great fulfillment of prophecy, the heavenly host’s praise. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:15. Peace. Peace on earth.
What did God do on a chaotic night in Bethlehem? He did the inconceivable and became a man. Fully God and fully man. How can that even be? And do we stop to marvel? Not often enough. Instead we make December crazy, and all too often celebrations become stressful. All the parties, plans, and expectations sometimes threaten to undo us, but the only undoing I want is the undoing of my heart before a holy, marvelous God.
So here I sit. Just a fir tree full of lights and me. I’m savoring the silence. Enjoying the peace. Keeping this Christmas simple. The village will be lit by tomorrow night. I’m almost sure. The buckets will go back to the barn to collect more dust. The kitchen will smell of baked goods soon enough. But nowhere in all of that do I want it to be anything other than simple. God became man and dwelt among us. Could the news be any better? Yes, actually! When God became man, in the baby Jesus, He gave the right to become children of God to all who believe in His name, and from His fulness we receive grace upon grace. So this is how I spend my December nights – overcome by God’s goodness every time I look at those little lights shining in the darkness. Jesus is the light of the world, shining in the darkness, and the darkness can’t overcome it. (John 1).