08 December 2011

A barbed wire Christmas...

I'm somewhat like a chameleon. My free thinking and somewhat liberal views are well camouflaged by my conventional lifestyle.  I do like tradition but I like it best when it stands in opposition to the current culture.  My Christmas decorating style reflects this aspect of my personality.

I decorate my home for Christmas very much like I live and a peek inside today looks very much like a mid-20th Century suburban ranch house would have looked on its first Christmas.  Except for the facts that it's a "store bought" Noble fir instead of a "cedar" cut from the Caprock Canyons and that LED  lights have replaced the incandescent bulbs of my childhood and that I use curly willow in lieu of the silver foil icicles--our house bunnies who were our pre-Mandy pets tended to eat things off the tree and foil is not a holiday goodie--my tree looks very much like the ones my mother decorated in my childhood.

When one of my younger cousins was invited to view our freshly decorated tree, Kim said, "Oh, I don't need to look at it.  Your tree looks just the same this year as it did last year."  His mother offered up a new theme and color every year.  While I admire the elegance of the decorator tree, I want a tree that once had roots and still needs water.  While the soft shimmer of white lights are oh-so-tasteful, I prefer red, green, gold, and blue twinkling within green boughs.  I don't want to see a lot of "cutesy" ornaments; I scatter a few realistic owls and a couple of bunnies among the green and gold balls and hang the treasured antiques at the top of the tree. 

 I love the little wooden church, a coin bank box used by Grandma Wieland for her Assembly of God Church in Lockney, TX.  I remember the culmination of childhood decorating was placing this tiny church (flanked by two wax candle angels which were never lit and one hot summer melted like the witch in The Wizard of Oz) under the tree.  Many years ago, Mother gave the little church to me.  It always occupies a place of honor on my piano.  I like to imagine it's the one Miss Toosey used for her African Mission in Evelyn Whitaker's book

All the sentimentality surrounding a baby in a manger can turn me cynical and I appreciate a reminder that the church is now the body of Christ on earth.  One Christmas brought a card from the decorating aunt mentioned above  with a photo of the altar of South Plains Baptist Church where I grew up.  I framed it and put it behind the little church.  I made one change to my decorating tradition this year; I added a barbed wire bracelet.

David and I have always supported missions, particularly Wycliffe Bible Translators and this year the persecuted church (in Islamic countries, in Korea, and in China) weighs heavily on our hearts.  As we celebrate, we choose to remember our unity with all Christians and proclaim that we are "one with them."

"Come quickly, Lord Jesus."


Anonymous said...

SS via facebook:
Modern trees don't smell right. Those trees from "down under the hill" had such a lovely cedar smell

Anonymous said...

CH via facebook: I enjoy your blog-I feel I know aqd appreciate you even more from what I read.

Anonymous said...

Janet Sawyer via facebook:
I like the trees of my childhood, too. Real ones with bubble lights.

BrandyMcD said...

"I do like tradition but I like it best when it stands in opposition to the current culture."

I really like how you put this. And I enjoyed the little Christmas tour.

Anonymous said...

Paula Cummings Pyle via facebook: went out to Mom and Dad's the other day... got to enjoy seeing their Christmas tree... lot's of memories... growing up us kids got to make ornaments for the tree on Thanksgiving... she still loves each of those special handmade ornaments.... LOL... love the memories that each one evokes.... hugs and kisses to you and David !!