I hadn't planned on it, but this weekend I bought a miniature poinsettia...marbled in red and white, barely 3 inches tall.
I tenderly packed it amidst a flat of pansies, brought it home and placed it gently into a fragile porcelain Christmas cup, setting it on my kitchen window ledge where I could admire it.
From the moment I spotted that tiny thing at the greenhouse, lost among its larger, bolder, flashier relatives...
I knew it had to come home with me...
For it was a kindred spirit with my longing spirit...
For a simpler, quieter Christmas...
A Christmas season with less exterior and more interior.
A Christmas season with Jesus.
Not frantic busyness.
You see, for years I turned our home into a Christmas wonderland...every surface covered with glitter and lights, nativities and snowy winter scenes.
I spent days clearing out and packing up my normal life to make room for this once-a-year-spectacle called Christmas.
And once upon a time I loved it. I really did. I loved creating settings of beauty and wonder.
And heaven knows I had accumulated enough Christmas memorabilia over 30 plus years to work this wonder with!
But this year I feel differently...
I just can't do it.
The thought of all the work and time it will take makes we want to weep or hide or better yet, eat chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
And it's all because of that little poinsettia.
You see, I don't want to remove my everyday life and replace it with something else.
I love our home and the way it is filled with pictures and memories and beauty.
I don't want to pack away who I am, to make room for things that will be here today and gone in the blink of an eye.
I don't want to skid to a stop days before Christmas and wonder how I had missed it...
Every year I have danced closer and closer to this monumental decision...wondering if I could trust its leading...not sure if what I was being led by was sacrilegious...or worse, Scroogish!
But finally, this year, I have decided to dance with Jesus, rather than Christmas...
To spend this Advent Season with my Lover and Best Friend and the Keeper of My Soul.
To be still enough to meet with Him...
And not deadlines...and expectations...and false hopes.
Yes, I will still scatter the crimson red poinsettias that Ted bought me around the house.
And next weekend, Lord willing, we will travel up to the mountains with family for our traditional Christmas tree hunt.
And today, I will give our ceramic creche and nativity scene from Mexico a place of honor...angel flying above...crystal star suspended nearby.
For all of these represent gifts that God has given to me...gifts that I treasure...
My husband who daily pours himself out on my behalf.
Family, that is the most cherished earthly gift I have.
And Jesus, Emmanuel, God With Us, whose coming whispered His love for not just me...
But for all mankind.
And this year I want to be still enough to hear it.
I don't know how God has called you to live out this glorious Advent season...
Only you know the answer to that.
But during this time, my wish for you is joy...
Joy on the journey to Him...in whatever form that takes!