Today’s reading is God’s instructions to Moses regarding the furnishings and accessories of the tabernacle. It may seem like a weird thing to read about at Christmas, but God had very specific instructions as to how He wanted His dwelling place decorated and with what.
I learned so much about the tabernacle during the last Beth Moore study I did (A Woman’s Heart – God’s Dwelling Place). If you haven’t done that study, stop what you are doing right now, and just GO START IT. It is incredible.
In a nutshell, God was so specific in His instructions for two main reasons:
1. He was holy, and the tabernacle had to be holy if His Presence was to dwell there.
2. The tabernacle is an earthly replica of God’s throne room as described in Revelation.
Everything in the tabernacle held significant meaning and represented something that existed in the heavenly throne room, just as our decorations we use at Christmas have significant meaning and represent something specific to us.
I’ll be honest. This year decorating my house was tough. I dreaded pulling out the decorations and going through them. I didn’t want to see the blue and white decorations that were my soon-to-be-ex-husband’s favorites, the stockings I had made with all of our names on them, or the yard ornaments given to us by the in-laws that I haven’t heard a word from in six months. And I definitely didn’t want to see the ornaments we had bought for each other on our first Christmas together that always hung front and center on the tree every year. I honestly just wanted to chuck everything and start from scratch, but it was important to me to make things as normal as possible for my son. So, I sucked it up, told God (and myself) that I was going to have a Merry Christmas this year no matter what, and started pulling things down out of the attic.
I decided to use the maroon and gold ornaments that had been my favorite, along with some mis-matched ones that I’ve collected over the years, but not put on the tree before – some given to me by my grandmother, others made by my son when he was little, still others that were on our tree when I was a kid – along with some new ones that some great friends dropped off.
As I was going through the box, however, I came across a small box that had some things wrapped up in tissue paper inside. I had no idea what it could be until I started unwrapping the tissue.
And felt like somebody punched me in the gut.
Because wrapped in tissue in that box were the personalized family ornaments we had collected over the years with all of our names on them.
I had completely forgotten about those, and was totally unprepared to see them.
I’m glad my son wasn’t home that afternoon. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or throw up. I’m pretty sure I uttered some choice words that shouldn’t be repeated regarding the person who tore our family apart.
How’s that for Christmas spirit? So much for sucking it up.
My first instinct was to throw them all away. Every. single. one. of. them. After smashing them to pieces, of course. Stockings, too. But instead, I packed them back up, this time in a CLEARLY labeled box, and put them back in the attic in case my son ever wants them one day. I can always toss them later, if he decides he doesn’t want them.
And then I took a deep breath, poured my frustrations out to God, and cranked up the TobyMac CD, and kept right on decorating.
Side note: You can’t stay in a bad mood when you are jamming to TobyMac. It’s impossible.
I have several nativity scenes this year. I want to be able to see one from anywhere in the living room to remind me of what my focus should be this Christmas.
Right after finding the family ornaments, it tweeted about how I should have just bought new stuff. I didn’t specifically say why, but some great friends who knew what I has been going through stopped by a couple of hours later with a bag full of new ornaments. These are two of my favorites, and are hung where I can see them from my usual seat on the couch.
They remind me that I don’t have to wish for peace or joy because He has already given those things to me. I just have to reach out and take them. I choose to live in peace and with joy.
This is probably my favorite ornament. It is one of the new ones we got this year. It’s a simple wooden cross, but it is front and center on our tree to remind me that there is life after death, and there is always hope.
I needed to be reminded that my happiness isn’t dependent upon my circumstances. The actions of others, no matter how wrong and hurtful they are, can’t steal my joy unless I let my joy be stolen.
This year, and every year, I am going to remember that I am blessed beyond measure and loved by the King.
It’s going to be a Merry Christmas.
I’m linking up with Thorns and Gold to share Advent/Christmas posts this month.