Friday, December 22, 2017

Joy

 Today I am stuck at home without a car. Occasionally it does need to have service. So I decided that I would finish our Christmas decorating. While all the decorations are all the same old standards we have loved for years, we remodeled our first floor since last year. So I have had to rethink where things are going to go. And we have A LOT of decorations after 33 years (I am one of those who wonders if they do indeed breed in the attic during the 11 months of the year they have off). Also, we no longer have children living in our home full time. Decorating is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. Coupled with the previous facts, I must admit that I have wondered "is it really worth it to put all this stuff out?" We are not even planning on having a large gathering during the Christmas holidays, so who besides Scott and me (and occasionally Emily) is going to appreciate it?

But somehow, I could not NOT decorate, so that is what I am doing. As per my custom, I have the holiday CD's playing during my treks up and down the stairs. First came Johnny Mathis (thanks Dad, for the memories, say hi to Johnny in heaven for me!) Then I put on Casting Crowns. As I progressed, I could feel my spirit lighten and I am smiling simply to myself. Then the song "Christmas Offering" came on. The refrain says "We bring an offering of worship to our King". I was walking thru my kitchen and stopped dead in my tracks, lifted my hands to heaven, and knew THAT is why I am decorating. I am bringing an offering of worship. A spirit of JOY flooded my soul. In the Old Testament, God instructs his people to have celebrations and festivals, and He tells the people they are to prepare their homes for them and to enJOY them. Faithful Jews still practice these celebrations today. I believe it is the same for Christmas for the Christian. We are to enJOY the Advent season and my decorations are reminder for me who the Reason for the season really is. On December 25 we will celebrate Jesus's birth and I pay homage to Him by preparing both my home and my heart. 

I live in the same world you do. Terrible news every day, sometimes every minute if you have notifications on your phone. Floods, earthquakes and people doing unspeakable things to other people. Jesus told us that in this world we will have trouble, so we really shouldn't be surprised. But as I look around my house, at my preparations for Christmas, my heart is filled with JOY and my eyes are filled with tears, both from memories of time gone by and anticipation for what is to come. But most of all in gratitude, to a Savior that looked down and saw me and said, "I will pay the price, because I do not want to be without her in eternity." Thank you Jesus for the price you paid, so that I may be free, so that we all might be free. May your holiday season bring you JOY.

- Vickie Crews