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.
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..
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 5:28 pm
“Spending time, energy, and money to create a lasting memory, although physically temporary is the gift that lasts for a lifetime.” WOW, what a powerful statement!
I’m learning the value of doing things with my family and friends that would last a lifetime. For me, this means spending quality and fully focused time with my wife and son before doing the things I want (Like writing). I have to remind myself my family time is more important than writing time:)
Thank you for an amazing post!
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 8:12 am
We’re on the same page, Dan. The dividends paid to our family and soul are worth so much more when we have things in proper perspective. Not always easy to do, but reminding one another helps. Thanks, Dan.
Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 7:37 pm
Good for you, bruised knuckles and all. I helped Robert put up his tree shaped forms across our front yard fence. They were left over from last year and all the lights were still working. Robert can’t do the fantastic displays that he once did, but our front looks festive and our snowman also still works. Inside I have a manger scene and two very small plastic trees in different rooms. We should have a nice crowd for Christmas dinner, and I will change my table cloth for a Christmas one I keep for the occations. Merry Christmas to all and continue to find the time to spend with your family.
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 8:14 am
Sounds like the perfect home, Hazel. Funny how our homes are so much more comfortable and inviting when we keep a humble and proper perspective. What time should we be over for dinner? Just kidding! If you lived closer I might not be! Merry Christmas to you and Robert. May God bless you abundantly, Hazel.
Friday, December 20, 2013 @ 8:39 am
Ha! Christmas lights for me are kind of a drag. I don’t like the heights, the cold ladder, or the #$%@ strands that mysteriously don’t work. But i love the illumination. That’s the prize of the efforts. kind of like “life”
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 8:17 am
Yep. I’d say that’s a great analogy. It really is the gratification in hindsight of the effort spent. Well said, wise man! Merry Christmas, David.
Friday, December 20, 2013 @ 10:10 am
I am so passionate about doing things with family and for friends and others that are surround me. I know when you put those lights up outside in the cold all kinds of things were going through your mind but when you realize who you are doing it for, that truly subsides. Thanks Floyd for sharing.
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 8:19 am
I’m with you, Lincoln. Frustration is a part of just about everything I think, but it is easier to deal with when we remember our calling and love. God bless you and your family and Merry Christmas.
Friday, December 20, 2013 @ 12:21 pm
Floyd I like how you said that there is no “I” in joy. I’ll be thinking about that one for awhile. It seems that our world has got it all backwards and instead tells us that you can only experience joy when you get all the things that you see on commercials.
Hope you’re having a very joyful Christmas season!
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 8:22 am
Amen, Caleb! The world has honed in our weakness; our flesh! I’ve noticed across a lifetime that the ones who are the most self centered are the most unhappy people. I tend that way as well and knowing that helps me look outside myself, that’s the love our Father desires from us, the type of love He shows us every second. I’m praying for a blessed Christmas for you and your clan.
Friday, December 20, 2013 @ 4:04 pm
Love this post Floyd, thank you for reposting. I needed the reminder right about NOW this minute 🙂 I’ve been working feverishly to wrap up some things before Christmas and you know how that eats into the spirit and joy of the season! Merry Christmas to you and yours and thanks for the reminder 🙂
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 8:23 am
You’re welcome, Ngina. We all need the reminder. We are iron sharpening iron, sister! Merry Christmas and blessings to you and yours.
Friday, December 20, 2013 @ 5:45 pm
My husband can relate, Floyd. 🙂 We usually just let the kids put up the Christmas lights as it involves climbing up on the roof and a lot of work! They come up with different haphazard schemes each year – sometimes I feel guilty when I look out the front window and see our neighbor’s perfect lights, but they still look good – just not perfect. 🙂 I laughed as I read your post, because I could relate to all the work, the lights not working, my husband being not quite cheerful about the whole process, etc. But those are just minor details – the real fun is in the gathering of the family. Especially when all the kids start leaving home, Christmas is so fun because they’re all home!
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 8:25 am
Those are the wise words of experience, Barb! We are blessed to have family around us. Don’t even get me started on the putting away process! That’s a story all unto itself! Merry Christmas, Barb. God bless you and yours, sister.
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 11:31 am
You too, Floyd. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with everyone!
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 2:46 pm
Thanks, Barb. Same to you with your rowdy clan!
Friday, December 20, 2013 @ 9:43 pm
That is one you could post year after year. It is so amazing how life transforms us when we begin to see the hand of God in the everyday moments of life. We just got a tree yesterday and there are still no ornaments, but being prepared in decor isn’t what it is about. My heart is prepared and that is what the Lord looks at. The ornaments will come and I will trust and have peace that all will come together in its time. I don’t want the hustle and bustle to steal my joy. Have another joyous season and a Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 8:29 am
That’s the right attitude, Rachael. Having your priorities right is a gift from God to our hearts as it brings joy within. It really is an exercise of our gift of free will. You’re wise beyond your years, sister. Merry Christmas to you and your family as well, Rachael.
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 11:29 am
No need to apologize, this is a great post (as usual).
Your post reminds me of my Bible Study last night- I was reading about how the Magi rejoiced when the found Baby Jesus. All their previous knowledge could never compare to meeting Christ.
Our lives should change when we encounter Christ.
I’m guilty of forgetting what a great cost my salvation is. This year I’m going to try and focus more on REJOICING!
For with Christ, there is much to be joyous about.
Merry Christmas and God bless.
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 2:46 pm
Excellent call, TC. We should all be joyous over the eternal gift that we’ve received from our Savior! I’m trying to focus on that as well. It is our choice to use that gift of free will. Thanks, TC.
Thursday, January 2, 2014 @ 2:45 pm
Can’t say much more than “I understand”. Similar issues on my plate in the past. Now, w/o Christmas what/how would we ever deal with the world. Bless you and your family.
Friday, January 3, 2014 @ 4:05 pm
It’s not so bad when we have a proper perspective and get to do the work with loved ones. Bless you and yours as well, Joanne. Get your rest, sister!