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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 19: Preparing on the inside as well

My photo is of Santa and a "julbocka", a Swedish goat made from straw that has somehow become a popular Christmas decoration here. The legend goes that long ago, when farmers were poor, the only thing they had available to them for decorating was straw so they began to fashion ornaments and decorations from straw. There's a story behind the goat as well but I don't know what it is! The Santa is Nordic. You can tell by his cross country skis! These three decorations, the large julbocka and the small one, alongside of the Santa sit high above our living room, keeping watch over the festivities. It is fun to have a bit of Sweden mixed in with our traditional American decorations. I love the way our house looks now. I spent the night cleaning so it's really nice right now! I am ready for the onslaught of my to do list! Plenty of things on my list between now and Christmas Eve. But the house is ready. Santa is in place. The julbocker are keeping an eye on things!
Externally, things look good. Internally, I need to slow down again. There have been some things at work that bug me. I don't want them to dominate my thinking over these next several days. Instead, I want the joy of Christmas...the real joy of Christmas...the fact that Christ came into this world to save me from all of the pain and trauma that I would have if not for Him. He was born in straw, in surroundings that weren't so clean or lovely. The simplistic nature of the manger is a good reminder to remember the simple things in life.
I am happy to have a beautiful home. I am thrilled to be having close friends for dinner on Saturday, and plans for a fun Christmas Eve dinner with our associate pastor and his parents who arrive from America on Tuesday. I look forward to the 75-90 person Open House we will host on Christmas day. When it's all over, my house will be a mess. But hopefully the warmth and joy of Christ's birth, the whole reason we decorate and gather, will linger.