Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)
I do not know why, but Cory has developed a taste for my books. She ate a copy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship, Eugene Patterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling and the journal that I keep my bank records in. I do not know if perhaps a momentous occasion in the life of every female is about to arrive, the one that requires Midol and chocolate in humans, or if she is just going through a rebellious phase, but every morning, I dread waking up to see what treasured tome she has destroyed. Add that to Sai’s weird habit of dragging our dirty clothes into the middle of the living room and sleeping on the pile and the thought of decorating for Christmas gave me reason to pause. What if I put some of my most beloved Christmas ornaments low enough for Cory to reach and chew up? What if Sai decided to drag the artificial fir and holly off the fireplace hearth and onto the living room rug? What if they knocked the tree completely over? (Side note here: When we were first married, we had very few decorations and I had the bright idea to string Milk Bones around the tree. You can imagine what happened when we left our two Dobermans home alone the first time.) I am older and wiser and know what might be facing us. It is easy enough to leave all the presents stacked in the closet with the door closed. To leave the hearth naked. But, what to do about the tree? Should I put it in a corner with the big chair to protect it, only its top sticking up from behind its hiding place? Would I soon be rushing a Chesapeake Bay Retriever into surgery to remove the artificial tree branches from her belly? Or a plastic angel? What about my wooden manager scene from Israel? I pondered the question for several weeks before Thanksgiving. On Black Friday, when I rummaged in the attic for a tree, I came down without my two nice tall trees and carried a single box with a three foot midget. I placed it on top of the cedar chest with less than three dozen of those plastic angels hanging above my olive wood manager scene. The fireplace mantel has garland and my big china manager scene with only a few decorations on the hearth and living room tables. And that is all I did. While the outside of the house is brightly lit at night with wreaths and ribbons to decorate during the daylight hours, the inside of my house is stark and bare. I still do not know how I feel about downsizing this Christmas. One morning I may wake up and go straight to the attic for a bigger tree. But, for now, I am focusing on the true meaning of the season and learning that the Christmas Spirit comes from my heart and not my surroundings.