Christmas Priorities

Christmas Priorities

          Advent is one of those times when I look at my life and reset my priorities. This year our preparations for Christmas look a little different. We’ve managed to get our Christmas tree up and decorated early. In the past, that meant a couple of hours of first wrestling with tree lights, and then opening boxes and decorating the tree and most every place in our house. I have angels, bells, bows, wreaths and so much more, to put on windowsills, tables, hang from door knobs, and on and on.

Tom and Chris carried four totes of decorations up the stairs. We set up our new pre-lit artificial tree. No struggle with lights. This will be a snap, I thought. We’ll put the breakables on the top two thirds of the tree, and leave the rest for 19-month-old Riley. The tree may not look professionally decorated (It doesn’t usually anyway.) but it will be safe for Riley.

I opened totes and put stuff on the dining room table. Riley was no trouble whatsoever. Yes, he took some of the decorations off his part of the tree and put them back on for a little while. Very quickly he lost interest in that game. I looked at all the stuff in those bins and thought, where will I put this that little hands can’t reach. My next thought, maybe I don’t need most of it this year.

I found the wax battery operated candles and placed them on the living room windowsill. They’re wax, I thought. Breakage won’t hurt him and they are easily replaced. Almost immediately Riley’s little fingers found the buttons on those candles. They were fun to turn off and on. They were new toys and he loved them.

The best part of the evening was watching Riley. We enjoyed him, his parents and each other. We’ll finish once he’s in bed we thought, but we didn’t. The next day got busy. Two days later, I declared, “We have to finish decorating and clean up.” So we did, one bin now full of the unnecessary, at least for this year.

This year our priority is our special little family. We don’t know what next year will bring and that’s a good thing. For this moment, we have this special gift, Riley and his family, to be savoured and loved. Decorations are good, and joyful and fun, for sure. Best decorations in the world, this year, are Riley’s deep hearty laughter, his sparkling merry eyes, and the joy and gratitude we feel in the precious gifts from God that have come and will continue to come whenever any one of our family is present with us. Tom and I are truly blessed.

As you prepare for Christmas, put up your tree, shop for food and gifts, take time to be grateful. Look around you. Set your priorities. See the beauty of God’s world whether covered in snow or still green. Value those around you, be they caregivers, friends, and family. Share your wealth in all its forms with others. And make this year the best Christmas ever, at least until next year.

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