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Thanksgiving is over. The bountiful meal shared with family and friends is a memory. We've survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It's time to turn our attention to Advent!

Advent Season is a time of great excitement as we look forward to the birth of Jesus; Advent is a time of family traditions. One of our family traditions is to decorate the house for Christmas on the days following Thanksgiving. So, let's begin by decorating the outside of our house.

Some people go all-out with their decorating -- thousands of lights; animated figures of Santa, Frosty, and reindeer; candles in the windows; a star on the chimney. Folks drive for miles just to see the showy, spectacular display. Others decorate more simply -- a few lights, candles in the windows, a star on the roof, a manger scene in the yard. And some people don't decorate for Christmas at all -- perhaps they have no extra money to spend on decorations, perhaps Christmas is too sad a time due to a loss or a death, or perhaps it's against their religious beliefs. So, why concentrate on making the outside look beautiful for Christmas?

An unknown poet summed it up --

"You don't have to tell how you live every day;

You don't have to tell how you work or you play;

A tried, true barometer serves in the place -- however you live, it will show in your face!"

What we show to the world on the outside says a lot about what's on the inside -- what we are and what we believe. So, let's get started decorating the outside of our house/our lives for Christmas.

We begin by decorating the TREE, whether it's a cedar or a pine. The tree represents the "Tree-Of-Life" -- green, vibrant, strong, alive. The tree reminds us of that Eternal Tree that adorns the streets of Paradise.

Next come the LIGHTS. We celebrate the coming of Christ, the light-of-the-world and the light-of-our-lives. The light dispels all the darkness of sin, evil and death. The light serves as our guide through life, our Beacon-of-Hope.

Now we put up the STAR. As we behold the star, we remember how God, in His wisdom and might, perfectly aligned three major planets to produce the effect of one giant star -- the Star of Bethlehem. God still gives us stars/signs to lead us closer to Him.

The WREATH on the door is a sign of God's endless love -- a love that never quits, never gives up on us, no matter what.

Finally, we place the NATIVITY SCENE in the yard.

We see the sheep and think of Christ -- the Great Shepherd, the One who watches over us, who provides for our every need, who protects us from harm, and who leads us safely home.

The donkey reminds us of the hardship that Joseph and Mary endured on their journey to Bethlehem, the hardship that Jesus endured on his journey to the Cross, the hardship that we must endure as we keep the faith.

We hear the doves as they sing of the joy and the peace that we find in the presence of Christ and our Lord Jesus.

The angels represent those messengers that God sends our way to announce the good news of God's coming and to lead us nearer to Him.

The wise men remind us that the truly "wise" will constantly seek and find the Christ child, no matter how long it takes, or what we must sacrifice.

Then, the holy family, Joseph and Mary, remind us that we are all born into a family. That's how God designed life. So, we need to treasure those family ties and all those family memories and traditions and strive to make our family a Godly family.

The baby is a reminder of how God works in marvelous ways His wonders to perform. God comes to us in the common, ordinary moments of our lives. God comes to us through the quiet and simple things in life. Who would have thought that this baby, born in a humble stable in an obscure small town, would grow up to be the Light of the world and the Lord of Life, the Savior of us all, the Ruler of Heaven and Earth, the perfect example of love, and our everlasting hope?

Let's take great care about how we decorate the outside of our home and what we show to the world on the outside of our lives. Because what shows on the outside reveals a lot about what's on the inside. Whenever God's Spirit fills our hearts, souls and minds, it will show up in the kind words we say and the good deeds we do. Glory to God!

Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 11/29/2018

Print Headline: Decorating Outside For Christmas Has Greater Meaning

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