Decorating for the first Christmas in my new house after a moving from Ohio to Texas started out exciting as we determined where we should put the tree and hung the stockings on the new fireplace mantel. I sang along to “Deck the Halls” as I unpacked décor boxes like a giddy kid on actual Christmas morning.
Frustration began to unwrap as I uncovered broken ornaments, realized I didn’t own enough matching garland for the staircase and assessed that snowshoes and sleds looked out of place on my Texas front porch when its 60 and sunny.
Finding a new home for all my decorations just emphasized I still didn’t feel settled and highlighted how out of place I felt. So many of my Christmas traditions were tied to my geography, to the ice, snow and cold. To top it all off, real Christmas trees cost a small fortune here. I’ve always had a real tree but it goes way deeper than that. My elementary school best friend’s dad was a Christmas tree farmer and I grew up playing in trees purposed for Christmas. We sawed trees down ourselves out of the snowy woods all bundled up catching snowflakes on our tongues. I have vivid childhood memories of being lifted by my dad to put the angel on the top of the tree; I can still smell the pine sap and feeling the needles poke at me. If I haven’t inserted enough dramatic emphasis, my husband and I gave pine trees as wedding favors! Getting a fake tree felt like an exchange for my soul. Now I was feeling unsettled, out of place, and to top it off a loss of identity. Bah. Humbug!
But just as Scrooge had to resolve with his past and present in order to secure a better outcome for the future I turned to God in prayer to regain true Christmas spirit.
As I found a new location for my nativity seen and placed baby Jesus in his manager I was reminded of the biggest move in history. Jesus moved into human form and took up residence with us. John 1:14 “So the Word (Jesus) became human and lived here on earth among us.” Talk about feeling unsettled, out of place and a loss of identity!
I felt a sense of peace just realizing Jesus could relate. He submitted to God’s will, moved from the comforts of heaven to a new world, a world that didn’t recognize his identity. I will only feel settled when I invite Jesus to abide in my heart. I feel secure that I belong to a person not a place. It doesn’t matter where I moved or where I might move next. My identity is found when I remain in Him not in the past, present or future. Who am I? I am God’s and he is mine. We dwell together and that tops it all.
This year as my husband lifts my daughter to top off the fake tree with the angel, I will let it remind me what is real.