Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Decorations

As I drove through my neighborhood last night I was impressed with the number of houses decked out with festive lights, innovative lawn displays, and other yuletide items -- all hung, nailed, tacked, strung or otherwise fastened in the name of this merriest of seasons. There was one house in particular that looked as if it might double as an airport beacon, casting forth enough illumination to be visible from outer space.

Now, lest one deduce me to be the Grinch himself, I did put up my lawn decorations and house lights last weekend too. So it's not the idea of decorations I am opposed to, it's being tacky.

Now tacky I realize is a subjective measurement, for one man's plastic Santa placed next to a set of blow-up penguins playing keep away from a snowman using his head for the ball may be the next man's piece de résistance. Still, I find that for me, at least, the most meaningful houses are the ones with decorations honoring the magnificent spirit of this season.

I like lights strung along gutters and eaves that simulate icicles; I like trees decked out in lights. And I really like a crèche in the yard, depicting Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

Our Lutheran Hour Ministries' building has a large, lighted set that features snowflakes on either side of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.

My home has a crude wooden stable with the figures of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.

Of all the lasting childhood Christmas memories I have, the one that means the most to me today is when my dad would set out the manger scene. Every year there was one under the Christmas tree, and most years he placed one front and center in the yard. He would have us kids help him set up the figures and run the cord for the spotlight; then he would share with us his words immortal: "Boys, this is what Christmas is all about, not all that shopping stuff!"

I couldn't agree more.

Men, it's never too late to begin sharing a CHRISTmas decoration. If this is something you can add to your Christmas celebration, may this year be the start of a tradition your kids will remember 30 years from now.

1 comment :

The Layman said...

Thank you for your story, there are days when we feel all alone in our faith walk, but Christmas is the time to do in the neighborhood what we are supposed to do in our congregations. We are to carefully explain why this manger scene assures us, someday we will be with Jesus in Heaven and not driving past at 45 MPH. The manger scene display should be your families proudest part of the season, as it defines you and your family from families who would worhip other so-called gods yet they do expect the gifts given in Jesus' memory...