Repost from November 2010. Sorry for all the reposts lately. It’s a busy season and I’m trying to spend the extra time with my family and keep the priorities that align with this season.

Christmas lights

image courtesy of photo

I put up the Christmas lights and the Christmas tree yesterday, I have the bloody knuckles to prove it. I also have the sore back and destroyed finger tips if the knuckles aren’t proof enough. It seems like only 3 months ago I was putting all those heavy boxes away.

Years ago my wife would have to practically beg and plead for me to do what I do now with pleasure. I was somewhat of a Scrooge. I reasoned the whole process took time, energy, and money for such a short amount of time, only to have to spend time and energy to put it all away.

I’m pretty sure this thought process is more prevalent in males. The same reasoning process that causes us to question, “Why make a bed? – You’re just going to mess it up again in 16 hours!” You  have to admit that it does make sense from a purely factual basis. What it doesn’t account for is living life with a better perspective.

I lived my life with that kind of a Scrooge mentality for the majority of it. I can say first hand that living a life with that mindset isn’t living, it’s existing, kinda like animals using their inborn instinct to survive. I was like The Wolfman without the fur or fangs.

Knowing God transforms us from intelligent animals to chosen saints living a life more abundant by the grace of God. Once God opens the eyes of His chosen they see the world from a completely different perspective. I see the hand of God in everything every day of my life. What an honor to be able to put up lights, climb ladders, be strong enough to carry boxes that weigh more than my wife.

This year when the lights on the tree didn’t work, (which is a yearly occurrence) I didn’t get frustrated, we just worked through it. I also went to the store and found matching lights for the exterior eaves. I bought four new bags. That’s usually the amount of strands that quit working mysteriously over the course of the year. I think they call it “unexplained phenomenon.”

My wife and I went out and bought a new lighted star for the top of the tree. We also got some lighted candy canes for the front yard to replace the ones a couple years past their retirement age. I probably should have coughed up the 25 bucks a couple years ago, but that’s part of the season isn’t it? Trying to get by with what you have? Being thankful and appreciate whatever we’re blessed with.

It’s taken me a long time to grasp the daily mercies and gifts provided by God.

Many years ago it wasn’t uncommon for me to to spend a Christmas by myself, work schedule and all. During those times, I never put up a Christmas tree, not to mention I didn’t make it to church during the season either. I was living life for me. We’ve all heard it said there is no “I” in “team.” I agree, but even more poignant is, “There is no I in joy.” True peace and joy lived out according to God’s terms have little to do with us.

We are His instruments, doing the job He created us for. In His perfect will is the only place we can live above our inborn nature. I heard my whole life, “Christmas is about giving.” I gave from a legalistic standpoint, I enjoyed it but didn’t really get it.

Using money to buy things for another person is good. Spending time, energy, and money to create a lasting memory, although physically temporary is the gift that lasts for a lifetime. Although very cold for where we live, we all went outside last night and looked at the Christmas lights. What a gift from God. My family, our time together, those simple red and green lights hanging from the edge of the roof.

The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Who could ask for more than that..