So, a few years back, I made a wreath…a Christmas wreath. It was simple-only consisted of the greens, a few pine cones, a purple sheer ribbon, and …lights. It was simple, but for some reason, it brought me lots of profound joy. Yep. Just did. It just reminded me of the good things of the season, the simple good things and it was there to welcome friends and family home. Here’s the blog link for that…Reading it will add to the understanding of what I’m about to write.. …the little things…, but it’s not necessary.
So, for the past few years, I’ve just enjoyed having that wreath ready to go on the door. Other than the little ceramic Christmas tree, and the year-round lights around my kids’ photos, well, the wreath has been the first thing to go up.
So, two nights ago, I got the wreath, put it on the door, plugged it in and …voila!…NOT. Nope, nope, nope….no lights turned on. So I tried again. Maybe a different extension cord, maybe…nope, nope, nope. And instead of that wreath giving me joy, it just kind of sat there, cold and dark and I just stood there in the cold and dark, disappointed. Not quite what I thought my favorite wreath would bring out.
So yesterday, I bought a $2.25 pack of lights, and when I had the house to myself, I turned up the music and set out to fix this wreath…because the light added so much to that little wreath. Well, it was a ‘pre-lit’ wreath…and so it had about 100 or more little plastic tab things that held the lights into the wreath. By the time I realized how big of a job this was to undo those tightly held tab things from that wreath, well, it was too late to turn back.
It might not look like much, but trust me…there were tons of those little tab-things and it was no small feat to get the lights off. I’m talking over-an-hour-no-small-feat. And as I was taking them off, there it was. The culprit. The teeny tiny little culprit that had stripped my favorite wreath of it’s brightness. I’m sure you probably guessed that, well, one of the bulbs was cracked. And because of that, the whole string, every strand attached to that wreath by 100-some TIGHT tabs, was robbed of it’s light because one bulb was out.
And it hit me. And I smiled, cause I love how deeper truths can settle in as we see the ordinary stuff of life and how things work. It hit me that when one bulb is out, all are out. When one missing piece isn’t there, it impacts the whole deal.
We have all sorts of traditions, to-do lists, hopes, dreams, festivities, expectations and things wrapped up in our Christmas celebrations don’t we? All sorts of expectations are in our heads as we try to prepare for the big day. But if Jesus isn’t part of it, well, we’re just kind of putting a dull, dark wreath on our door that has the potential to shine a warm and welcoming glow for all who come to our homes. That one missing piece, that one missing bulb that can make all the difference is Jesus. Because Jesus…isn’t just a myth or a man or a reason to have a holiday.
Jesus is a Savior. Redeemer. King. A Savior of me, Redeemer of me, Light of my World. And when I can see through all of the other things to the heart of Christmas, well, it adds joy and meaning and light and life and a smile on my face as I do the stuff. It helps me see the reason for celebrating. Not just that, It helps me celebrate instead of just checking through my to-do lists and dreading the countdown of this Advent season.
I do love Christmas. I promise I do. But to be honest, I often dread a lot of it. The expectations and busy-ness and financial demands…it all seems so very distant from a Star in the night sky , a simple stable, manger in a straw, and a Savior coming in the form of a baby. Yeah. And I know there’s a bridge, a balance between doing too much and not enough, but I think it’s more than that. For me, I don’t want to lose the Countdown with dread…I want to celebrate the advent with joy. Way too often, I’m like a dark wreath that has all the right things on the check list, but the joy, the light, the spirit of it all is gone. Maybe that’s why I smiled as I saw that broken bulb. I needed to be reminded of the obvious….that if I’m celebrating Him and His Life, then the other things will fall into place. They just will.
So, if things are feeling rushed and dull and hard and busy and kind of futile as you approach or even dread the 25th, maybe you can remember me and my wreath. Maybe you can think on that one bulb that made all the other bulbs go dark… Maybe we can all pray and ask God to help us to truly grow in our awareness of God’s love for us that was so beautifully demonstrated in the coming of Jesus. Maybe the difference in the light that we’re able to shine out lies in the light that we’ve allowed to shine in our own hearts.Just a few thoughts on wreaths, lights, and anticipation of Christmas.
P.S. I finished the wreath. Love it. It’s on now, along with the ceramic little tree and a lemon verbena candle. Lights shining all around, Light shining in ❤
‘The people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
I Peter 2:9