O Tannenbaum

My Christmas tree is missing.

Yep, you read that right.

My Christmas tree is missing…from our den, that is.

I have a confession to make. –taking a deep breath– My Christmas tree isn’t up yet. (blushing deeply)

Yep, you read that right, too.  It’s December 19th and my Christmas tree still waits expectantly to be costumed.  (Actually, we joke that it’s our Christmas tree forest.  We have a big tree and two small trees together.)

I know, I know.  I’m in shock myself.  It feels almost illegal in Christmasville.   Where did the time go?  Never in my life have I been treeless this far into the season.  We’ve raced through busy schedules this month.  I was out of town every weekend, plus we’ve been juggling church activities (David is a minister) plus an unusually heavy workload.  Plus a fast-approaching writing deadline.  Plus yada yada yada.  Many late evenings have found us just getting home then soon dozing on the couch. You can relate, I’m sure.

I tried to fancy myself that this is how people in Jane Austen’s day did it; the tree didn’t appear until just before Christmas.  (Sigh) No dice.  The days flew by, and I got antsy and almost depressed about my bare tree and walls.  We love decorating for Christmas: it’s an all-day affair with decorations for each room, most of them sentimental.  True, by the end of the day I’m usually tired and grouchy from the mountain of piled boxes (poor David!), but I wouldn’t dream of it any other way.  It says, “Christmas is officially here for the Bryants.” Deep down I’ve believed that a cozy Christmas couldn’t start until the house looked like Christmas.  I also love having friends over and sharing the season. By the way, this photo shows our hearth a couple of years ago.

Finally, it occurred to me to turn my not-so-quiet desperation into prayers.  Seemed kinda silly to pray about decorating.  I’ve been reminded by God, though, that I can–and should–turn over all things to Him. Especially if that something was driving me nuts.

Slowly God changed my attitude, and something surprising happened:  I’m now having one of the best Christmases I can remember! …The pace hasn’t slowed, but I’m less stressed in the midst of the busyness.  I’ve decided to simply enjoy.  He’s showing me with fresh perspective the preciousness of His coming.  My heart is treasuring the words of carols in a more meaningful way.

Our nativity set is occupying our mantle–the one decoration so far.  It’s in center stage, not crowded by the other things.  It catches my eye as I move through the den.  I stop and smile.  Apparently it’s possible for Christmas to come without five large, plastic bins being dragged out of the closet.  =)

Now, don’t get me wrong.  The tree will be up and adorned before Christmas, doggone it. But now it will be done with a quieter heart, relishing the simplicity with which He came for us all.