be honest. In this season to be thankful, could we do without some
holiday particulars we’re not particularly thankful
Indulge me . . .
I am not thankful
for having to decorate. Some decorating devotees thrill with lugging a
dozen boxes out of storage and figuring out where everything goes—and
lugging a dozen boxes of temporarily displaced pretties into storage
until January. I’d rather sit on the couch with a cup of hot cider and
point like an overseer. Unfortunately, if I don’t get involved, chances
are we’d have reindeer showing up in the Nativity scene.
I am not
thankful that I have to clean the house for company. I like the “having
company” part and my house isn’t that dirty, but let’s be real. The
family kind of clean that gets us by the other eleven months of the
year is far different from a company clean. Polishing so I can see my
reflection in the black glass of the microwave is frightening. And the
aroma of Mr. Clean clashes with eau de dust.
I am not
thankful that I have to find gift boxes that have tops and bottoms that
fit together. Nor for the task of remembering where I put the Christmas
cards, wrapping paper, and festive napkins I bought at last year’s
My husband, Mark, is not
thankful for having to climb a ladder when it’s freezing out to put up
the exterior Christmas lights.
“Just put them on the bushes,”
“But ours is not a
lights-in-the-bushes neighborhood,” he says.
He’s right. It’s a
lights-in-the-trees-and-dripping-from-the-eaves kind of neighborhood.
To do otherwise would be to risk being scorned as a bah-humbug family.
As far as untangling the strings of lights and making sure all the
bulbs work? Mark figures that’s why we had kids.
We are also not
thankful for the long drives that often come with the holidays.
Arranging the car so it can accommodate family; a Jell-O salad (that
can’t be tipped); presents (with bows that can’t be squashed); as well
as boots, coats, gloves, hats, and a shovel in case a wayward blizzard
passes by is tantamount to doing brain surgery—without the brain.
Our kids (no matter how old they
are) are not thankful for having to wait to open
presents. I can relate. When I was young the grownups took fiendish
pleasure in making us wait until after dinner, until after the dishes
were done, and until after they were done discussing the recipe for
Aunt Mabel’s broccoli hot dish and the pros and cons of having us kids
in the first place. Their fiendish pleasure is now ours. Revenge is
the kids are not thankful for some of the edible delicacies that come
with the season. Eggnog is “icky,” sweet potatoes are “gross,” and
stuffing is “disgusting.” Gizzards are “nasty,” gravy is “repulsive,”
and fruitcake is “yecchy.” Should we be thankful for their
But then...but then...
Amid the seasonal chaos, my eyes
are opened and I see—really see—what’s happening around me. I see the
beauty of the lights that bind everyone in mutual celebration. I notice
the special ornaments that bring a flood of memories of past trees and
of family members no longer with us. I ignore the cramped car and
relish the Christmas songs and carols on the radio, marveling that we
know all the words. I inhale the sweet aromas of plentiful food that is
brought and shared by all. I smile at the faces of my family as they
open the gifts I chose with loving care. And I revel in the family
traditions—unique and universal—that are passed from generation to
generation. But most of all, I get off my high horse and remember what
An angel of the Lord
appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they
were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring
you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in
the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and
lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host
appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:9–14 (NIV)
Thank you, God, for the gift of
your son, our Savior.
Merry Christmas to all, and God
bless us, every one.