The Blank Space
My friend texted me with her latest dilemma.
After rearranging her furniture she’d created a glaring blank space screaming for wall art. I was happy to help. We met at the home décor store and launched our search.
It was nearly Thanksgiving, so Christmas was front and center. A particular tree display caught my eye. Arranged around the tree were wooden crates and brown paper packages. They were simply tied with twine, sporting a sprig of holly. Vintage toys completed the picture: a rumpled teddy bear riding in a Red-Flyer wagon, a train and a scooter. It was pure nostalgia. My heart was momentarily warmed, then a strange restlessness fluttered inside me.
Our search for wall art became futile, so we browsed among the displays. What grew increasingly conspicuous in its absence was any trace of the Nativity. There were plenty of pre-weathered signs with lines from traditional carols and classic Christmas movies. Each sign beckoned in scrolling letters and snow-covered nostalgia toward simpler times. The signs were lovely and the nostalgia heartwarming, yet that restlessness whirled up again like wind-driven snow.
My friend and I turned to leave, and there it stood. Not the wall art to fill my friends’ blank space, but precisely what we all need. Under a canopy of twinkle lights, stood a small nativity. Beneath the rough wooden structure were Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus complete with an angel dangling from the ceiling and raffia-straw on the floor. There it was—neither loud nor demanding attention, just a holy light pointing the way back to God. A glowing jewel among the gaudy baubles. It’s what we’re all searching for to fill the blank space in our souls–the blank space we create as often as we rearrange Christmas.
Without the jewel of Christmas, our celebration can devolve into a six-week frenzy of inane holiday jangle and excess, all washed down with eggnog and cocoa.
Our souls grow nauseous—emptied and exhausted by “Christmas”.
This celebration of Christ’s coming and our great salvation should quiet our souls to a holy hush that explodes in effervescent joy. However, it can be reduced a chase for elusive Christmas magic to fill a restless void. A void we create as often as we exchange the jewel of Christmas for flashy baubles.
It was said of Ebenezer Scrooge, following his change of heart, “. . . that he knew how to keep Christmas well. . .”, and the same should be said of us. As Christians, we should celebrate this season with deep, abiding joy, as we have the most reason for merriment, singing and generosity. Jesus did say, “. . . I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “(John 10:10). As we trim our trees, bake our goodies and practice generosity, let’s hold tightly to that precious jewel of Christmas.
This is Christmas: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14, and, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)
As this festive season begins, linger in His presence, consider our great salvation and let the holy hush of Christmas envelop your soul and explode in effervescent joy!
Listen in to Joy To The World by Anthem Lights!