Pine needles fall from our Christmas tree, scatter about the wooden floor.
I sing the praises of my three year-old as he “sweeps,” scattering bits and pieces under the rug and to the far corners of the room.
This is our first Christmas in our new home. I desperately wanted it to be memorable-idyllic. We cut our own Christmas tree from our own acreage and I took a string of pictures of Mr. Marvelous hauling it into the house- the country Christmas I wanted to have, record, remember. Now we are one week away from Christmas and there are twelve ornaments on the tree (twelve!), an exposed Christmas tree stand, and a heap of pine needles on the living room floor. Life has a way of seeping in and filling our days with a current that, in a flash, takes us from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve at warp speed.
The first weekend of December I bought fresh evergreen garland to hang on our front windows and front door. To keep them fresh you are supposed to spray them daily, thoroughly, with water-especially the stems. You should have seen the hysteria of me, madly spraying a plastic spray bottle to cover some 48 feet of evergreen while my baby banged on the window, crying for mommy. Turns out the cozy country Christmas depicted in those coveted images is a lot more work than each peaceful scene would have you believe. And when I stood outside yesterday, looking up at the front of our house at sad and drooping evergreen, I felt, for a self-indulgent moment or two, like a rather pathetic failure.
I should have fallen on my face in worship, because the God I so desperately long to serve wrapped his arms around me, my self-pity and regret and opened my eyes.
“This is what Christmas is about.“
“Christmas is about the broken. The wilting. The dried up and the undone.”
“This is why I had to come for you, beloved.”
“I had to come.”
As the song says- “the weary world rejoices.” Not the beautiful, bountiful, polished world.
So as I watch my little one clean pine needles fallen from a drooping tree, I train my mind to not see defeat but the very gospel this silly tree is supposed to celebrate. It turns out my “short-comings” prepare my heart for Christmas in a way that a decorated house never could.
So fall on your knees.
Christmas is for the broken.
Pass it on.
No other version of this song is the same to me. This is pure worship.