Playhouse, December 8, 2010

It’s not a magical spell cast on me or a rare virus that invades my body, but a transformation comes over me every Christmas. I first noticed it when our grown children, in homes of their own, would make their way back to our Etta hill.

Another Christmas is spreading its spirit around us, and the metamorphic spell has begun. Decorations have gone up more slowly this year due to a busier schedule, but they’re being unboxed daily. Dust is on the run because I want everything clean and neat when our children arrive.

I’ll push my “everyday” pj’s to the back of the closet and switch to a more attractive set. With company in every room, I need to avoid the “tacky” mode.

The kitchen oven has been saturated with aromas of spices, and all the candy containers are being pulled from the storage shelves. An icebox fruitcake is mellowing in the back of the fridge while waiting on the boiled custard to join it.

I’ve been thinking about each family member’s unique personality and the perfect gift to compliment it. My list is far from complete, but I’ve already spent a lot of time considering the ideal gifts.

Our family visit won’t last long. There are work schedules and church activities that will shorten their stay, but for that short time it’ll be all about them: How many biscuits do you want, Carson? Let’s color a picture, Shields and Patton. Major, let Mama C hold you a while. CandyLee, we’ll watch a late movie tonight. Camea, can we work up a family caroling night? Tahya and Katie, what flavor coffee would you like with your Christmas movie? Kevin, you can use the power saw to cut more 4-wheeler trails. Eli, I have another batch of the toffee candy when we finish the first one. Othel, I’ll make another icebox fruitcake for New Year’s.

There’ll be the Christmas china on a real tablecloth and Christmas mugs for the mid-morning hot chocolate. The celebration will be about our family’s visit to celebrate Christmas!

Suddenly I’m confronted with a deeper thought. Jesus doesn’t make visits to my heart – He abides there. Am I concerned about its cleanliness – on guard to remove any dirt? Do I dress to please Him or to impress others? Have I filled my thoughts with what delights Him? Am I anxiously anticipating His return and making preparation for it? Is my prayer time filled with requests that only benefit me or am I consumed with praise and actions that will please Him?

The manger is a focal part in the Christmas season, but I must never forget that the manger was never His destination. It was the cross so I might be indwelt with His Holy Spirit. Joy to the world. The Lord is come! Let every heart prepare Him room.