Trimming the Tree!

The Kepplers decorated the house this week for Christmas! We put up the tree. Actually, it is always up and sits in readiness downstairs on its stand under a plastic cover all year long. All we have to to do is bring it up the basement stairs and put it in its place (and that is getting to be a greater chore for us older folks each year that passes!). Then, we fluff it a little, re-position the star at the top, plug in the lights and after adding the ornaments and red beads, it is good to go!

I had charged into this year's decorating responsibilities full bore, but was throttled back when Monique said, "Let's do everything except the tree. Just leave the ornament storage boxes upstairs. I want Chloe to come over after school and help me trim the tree. This is her favorite part of the Christmas season." While I had hoped to get it all accomplished in the morning, I deferred to the Madam of the House because I know that when "Mimi is happy, everyone is happy, too!"

We strung artificial garlands along the door frames in the family living room and kitchen area and then added red bows to accent them at the corners. Greenery was added to the mantle along with white lights and an angel candle prominently placed in the middle. A conspicuous figure of Old Mr. Scrooge is added to the shelf as a warning not to put any damper on this year's festivities or join in  any declaration of "O Hum Bug!"

The kitchen and bathrooms were trimmed out with red towels and candles. Mr. and Mrs. Santa were placed on my desktop and some elves on the piano and snowmen for the banister were strategically set in the front room along with the special wood-carved Nativity on the coffee table. I love this unique set with Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus along with three Wise Men and a couple of shepherds because of its simplicity and that it was a crafted and gifted to us years back by our special friends, Roy and Louise of Rockport, Texas.

When Miss Chloe came in about mid-afternoon after her classes had let out, she threw off her tennis shoes as she skipped into the living room with excited anticipation. I had told her very little during the car ride home so as not to disappoint her because we had already done some of the decorating earlier. She wondered what the occasion was all about and I said, "Mimi has a little project she needs help with!" Chloe questioned, "You mean decorating? You haven't already decorated have you?" And I said, "We have some things done, but need your help with other things." She further inquired, "What about the tree?" And I simply replied, "We got it upstairs!"

How do you see Christmas? What excites you? It is often hard for me to get "into the season" as early as some do! However, once the decorating begins, I look about and begin to feel expectant as I did as a child. You could say that seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child is still the best way to celebrate this season - with hope and anticipation!

At the end of the day, I shut off the lights in the family room and noticed that one ornament was curiously glowing. I thought at first that it was simply reflecting the light of the room and soon it would fade. I called for Mimi to help me investigate the reason for this glowing decoration. Monique immediately replied, "Oh, Chloe! She put that ornament in place and immediately turned on the switch underneath it. I was surprised it glowed!" And so was I! I can't tell you how many Christmases we've had that ornament and never turned it on! My! What lessons we learn from a child!

Mary, the young, child-like virgin of the Christmas story, was surprised at the announcement of the angel Gabriel, "You have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus" (Luke 1:30-31). Perhaps, we are surprised again with Mary's ready and submissive response, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said" (1:38).

Let's keep our eyes open during this holy season! Who knows what we may see and learn?!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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