Mary, did you know that Bethlehem didn't have a Hobby Lobby?

I am positive that mine isn't the only blog you read.

That being said, I am also positive that you, like I,
have seen a 100 Holiday vignettes, 1,000 Christmas mantels, 10,000 Sugar cookies, 
trees, lights, glass bulbs and garland all over blogland.

I am overwhelmed and inspired by all of of it.
AND all of you- 
the creative and sentimental
keepers of your abode, 
lovers of your brood, 
decorators of your homes.
Y'all are a combination of dozens of my favorite magazines!

Christmas has always been my favorite season to decorate.
I love helping Mark get the boxes down and out of the loft in the garage.
I enjoy seeing the new pretties I got the day after Christmas that I forgot I about.
I am fond of seeing all the ornaments once again, the new ones and the heirlooms.

But once it's all out of its hibernation state, I lose perspective.
Even I, a designer by trade, am baffled by the sheer supply
of frou frous that enamored me enough to put them in my cart.

WHY do I need all this stuff?
WHAT good does it do me spending 335 days out of its existence packed up
and stored where the sun don't shine?
WHERE do I "vignette" it all?
WHEN did it seem like a good idea to own every vintage flocked bird 
that the retired lady was selling at her Spring Estate Sale?
WHO am I trying to impress?

This year, I am asking myself these questions as I unwrap each morsel of adornment.

It's not that I don't enjoy these things,
but somewhere along the way, their lure has lost its luster.

It has been replaced by the conclusion that meaning doesn't come from a shiny, reflective ball,
flocked snow, painted twigs and adorable stockings.
Or that the season's purpose needs more embellishment by me.

2,000 years ago, our dying race was given the most beautiful present ever imaginable.
Was it wrapped in polka-dotted ribbon?
With a glittery tag?
Was this gift placed under a dazzling tree?

This gift lay in a mucky, lightless, unbeautified and unembellished barn.

Mary did not visit Hobby Lobby or Michael's for ribbon, wreaths or bulbs.
Joseph wasn't up on the roof attaching light strands with thatch clips.
I am pretty sure that there wasn't any eggnog or wassail to imbibe.

But what we ARE told is that this night, the light of the world came to us.
This night, the neighborhood was visited by it's first ever Heavenly carolers.
This night, heaven came to earth and emancipated it.

I can still deck our halls and hang the mistletoe.

But, as I sing along with each hymn,
display each shining item that I have found on sale or in a box on someone's driveway,
as I liberate the crafts designed years ago by my toddler's fingers
arrange and rearrange the lights on the bushes,
I will remember that the reason I treasure this season so much 
is that my Jesus is
the true light of the world, the creative embellisher, the original beautifier
and liberator of treasures, emancipator of souls.

He is the gift to my heart.
And Hobby Lobby has nothing on sale that compares to that.
And I'll bet Mary would have said the same thing.


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  1. Just found your blog this morning, and the thoughts you shared have spoken to my heart. I have never been able to allow myself to shop the day after Christmas -- even though the sales are calling me. The thought of "stocking up" after so much has just been given seems like so much excess to me. I don't mean that to pass judgement -- that's just ME. This year, as I read many beautiful blogs, I found myself wondering if this is really the way people live, or if it is a "show" for blogging sake -- and if so... is it really worth it? It will be interesting to see if this era of excess eventually goes back in time -- to a day where we did more home-crafting, and things were simpler.

    Loved the humor in your post-title by the way. I am thankful for the real REASON for the season!

    Merry Christmas!
    ~Sally (a new follower)

    1. Hi Sally!
      I used to shop the day-after-Christmas-sales like religion.
      And I got some great bargains.
      But this stuff never filled that space in my heart that was set apart for Jesus' message of grace.
      This year, I don't have a tree, and I didn't put lights on the house, and I didn't mail Christmas cards.
      But, I do have peace.
      And simple makes peace, at least for me.
      Merry Christmas to you, new friend!
      Love, Leslie

  2. What a wonderful post Leslie. All so true, and written so beautifully. Thanks for sharing this with us so eloquently!!

    1. Hi there!!
      I am honored to be able to share here at this place called "my blog"!
      I am honored that you even read it!
      Hugs and peace and love to you this Christmastime!

  3. Hey, I love how you step on toes. This revelation knocked me off my feet about three years ago. "What do you want, girls?" I asked via e-mails including photos of it all. I was not surprised by what they did not want; it was a lot.

    My Christmas is now in three boxes (one's the tree). I've moved 20 times in nearly 32 years of marriage. I'm with Dr. Seus's Grinch: "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store." Like Hobby Lobby. And they've had their Christmas deco out since JULY!

    Help us, God! We forget about Your birthday... on Your birthday. May we remember. Oh, help us remember!

    Your post is spot-on. Merry CHRISTmas!

    1. HA!
      My daughters have said the same thing (only want the sentimental vintage-y stuff or the stuff they made or the Nativity) about my Christmas stuff when I right-size our home!
      It's got me re-evaluating the possessing of it all.
      "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store?"
      That sums it up.
      I am always happy when you stop by, Kelley!
      Blessings, sugar!

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  5. I so love this post, Leslie. I am glad and grateful that you posted it, and I hope you'll do so every year! This one definitely bears repeating--I need to read it every year. Thank God the Light came into this world. I am thankful for the way His love burns so brightly in you and through you!

    Thank you so very much for joining Home for the Holy Days; I appreciate it more than I can say.

  6. I decided yrs ago that I would only keep three tubs of Christmas decorations. At the end of the season, what doesn't fit in the tubs must go. This yr, I only pulled out one tub & made sure all the decorations focused on the birth of Christ. It has certainly been a much more relaxing holiday time for our family.

  7. It is fun to pull out the decorations and to prepare for the festivities! Celebrating the birth of our Lord, and all it means! I love Christmas,...especially when we can cut out the stress and focus on Him!

    Merry Christmas!
    Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

  8. Well said, Leslie. We all need to refocus often to make sure we keep the main thing the main thing (as my pastor often says). I love decorating, baking, shopping, etc., but even if there was none of that, we could still celebrate the greatest Birthday of all time & honour the King of Kings. After all, God chose to send Jesus to a humble stable with angel's song & starlight - no tinsel, baubles, or cookies to be found. :)

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  9. I think this might be the best post I've read all season Leslie! I love it so much I'm going to share it on our FB page...and probably come back to read it again! :-)

  10. This is my first visit to your blog. What an inspiring and heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing. Blessings, Wendy

  11. Words of wisdom. My first visit here as well...I'm happy that I dropped in!

  12. AMEN!!! Thank you for this beautiful, inspiring post. I found you through facebook from Vanessa at the picket fence!

  13. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the "stuff" of Christmas. Thanks for the wonderful reminder of the meaning of the season.
    Merry Christmas if I'm not "back" before then!

  14. Beautiful poem, with feelings! I can relate as well. I love seeing my Christmas ornaments every December and definitely loving the spirit of Christmas.

  15. First time visitor. What a beautiful message. Merry Christmas!


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  17. Leslie, Thanks so much for this. As one of those many bloggers you spoke of, I often find myself throwing out a barrage of posts about all decorative and creative things Christmas. But it's nice to be reminded that sometimes we need to just stop and think of Jesus. Thank you.


  18. Just getting caught up on my blog reading and I had to stop and say that this was a beautiful post.

  19. I know it is January 3erd. I'm coming over from, Chic On A Shoestring Decorating! I really like your blog. I, however. Love this post. I remember asking my mom when I was little why we decorated so much for Christmas. Her reply was, "It is like decorating for your birthday. Jesus was born on Christmas. We are decorating for his birthday." As an adult, I still decorate for his birthday. Every time I or someone opens a present on Christmas I like to think of it as a birthday present instead of a Christmas present.
    I do believe that Christmas has gotten way out of hand. But, in mine and my family's heart. We know just what Christmas is and why we do the things we do!

    I hope you had a blessed Christmas and a very happy New Year.


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