In Wisconsin, the weather has turned cold. As I write this, the wind is blowing a cold rain. Leftover leaves are rustling. It is time to turn indoors. Soups, stews, and casseroles replace the grilled delights of summer. We must brace ourselves for the frigid January and February around the corner.
But first, the holidays! Thanksgiving brought sweaters, family, and gratitude to the front. It is my family tradition to decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. I leave the outdoor lights and wreath to my husband. But I drag out the totes of Christmas garb from the attic and turn our cozy home into an oasis of comfort and joy.
The noun decoration refers to something used for decorating; adornment; embellishment or embellishment. Growing up, we celebrated St. Nick filling our stockings each December 5th. The stocking hooks are placed at the mantel. Five stockings are hung. A bright red one for our oldest, though he’s been out of the house for five years. A blue one for youngest and a green and red one for out middle son. There are two small burgundy and gold stockings for the parents. We deck the tree with multicolored lights and together hang ornaments filled with memories. Each child has a box of ornaments. These contain St. Nick gifts of years past. There are the red apples from Grandma Ann, the chestnuts and bells from Great Grandpa Ed, sailboats and lighthouses from my husband’s earlier years.
I bring out candles and pinecones and a crystal bowl of red balls. There are picture frames of Christmas’ past. I don’t go overboard, but put out enough to transform the house for the season.
My last step is the most sacred. I set up my nativity display. It is a Willow Creek set, which was given to me piece by piece from my mother over a series of several Christmas pasts. Baby Jesus is of course the reason for all the celebration. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the commercial end of December and the hectic frenzy of preparations.
By setting out the nativity, I am reminded of the promise and hope of my salvation. In the fragile infant lying soft in a manager in the transformative power of Christianity. Sure presents will abound, I may even chose to spend the time of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my family celebrating a secular popular holiday rather than in a candle-lit sanctuary. In the moments leading up to Christmas, I give pause, I reflect, and I rejoice.