Even with its candle glowing, the Advent altar looked bare. A new Nativity scene, perhaps? After all, what's Christmas without the baby?
I looked in several stores, finding nothing that fit. Then I remembered my girl's childhood set, given by a friend. It would be just right there.
Can we move it to the altar?
But it's mine. I want it in my room.
And how can a mother argue with that?
I remembered a set in the attic, a small one I don't use anymore. I offered that to her. Once again, I was content to offer my leftovers to this sweet child. She reluctantly agreed.
When I went to find it, I found another I'd forgotten about. It fit perfectly.
I'm ashamed that I had casually tossed the Holy Family in with other Christmas decorations I no longer use...and there are many. I've tried numerous ways to deck our halls over the years, wanting to find the perfect combination befitting a magazine cover. I ran myself ragged, only to find that shiny baubles and figurines left me empty. Their shouts of look at me!, much too loud, drowned out the quiet of the manger.
This season is different.
Yes, there are still a few shiny baubles tucked among a small number of Santa Clauses from my youth. There are sappy holiday movies. There will be Christmas cookies, parties, and gifts.
But in the hushed glow of the Christmas tree
I gaze at the past - treasured decorations from my own childhood that bring to mind Christmases gone by.
I see the fiery love that has spanned nearly two decades - beautiful ornaments and trinkets given by my love.
I hear the quiet of the Heavenly hosts holding their breath in anticipation of God becoming man.
I feel the lump in my throat, as I swallow hard & resolve to no longer mar Christmas with my own self-indulgence.
I hear the beat of my own heart as I prepare Him room and wait expectantly for His arrival.