Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Locke Design, mantle
ribbon is at least a decade old
Hidden under the recliner where Grandpa naps is a box.  We wake him up, wish him "Happy Thanksgiving" one more time, and before his car reaches the road, we pack up the fall table cloths, open the box, dust off the candles and begin.  Maybe we add greenery, lights, or villages. Maybe we use carolers, ribbon, or poinsettias.  The room brightens with treasures of gold and red, heavy and light, bold and eye-catching. The house warms with greenery and pinecones, natural and simple. We prepare.

We pull boxes from the attic and replace the broken bulbs. We trim a themed tree or maybe one of buttons, crayons, and construction paper ornaments made by kids or cherished collectables given as gifts, a story for each ornament.  Maybe our grandmother gave us a special ornament, or maybe it came from a favorite city. We use clear lights or colored lights.  On the top, we use an angel, star, or a big bright bow. Whether it's a tree in every room or one central tree for the entire family to enjoy, they're up and ready before the fried turkey becomes soup or tetrazzini.  We prepare.  

Photo courtesy of Patsy Hendrix
Rain or sunshine, we move outside and throw pumpkins away. Burning calories from the pecan pie and hazelnut coffee creamer, we drag reindeer and wreaths from the garage, climb ladders and roofs, then take pictures and share on social media, which is honestly one of the highlights of December for me. The stockings are hung, and for the next few weeks, we shop, wish, sing, bake, wrap, and party with the energy that only comes for four short weeks. We laugh loudly at Elf and tear up as Linus recites Luke chapter 2 and George Bailey is rescued. We prepare.

For four weeks (or longer for the pre-Thanksgiving eager elves), we prepare.... for family? We hope it fits. ....for friends? We hope they like it. ....for guests? We hope it's delicious. .... for Santa? We hope the kids are happy. Let's face it.  The Christmas season is busy but fun and alive. It's when tradition and memory meet novel and unique.  Our preparations proudly announce an event, Christmas: the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Locke Design
Centuries before we prepared our homes for this event, a child was born as a forerunner to God's son,

"filled with the Holy Spirit, even before birth... He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly." Luke 1:15&17

"Even before birth."Before he breathed earth's air, before Elizabeth kissed his baby face, John had a passion for Jesus.  In her historical fiction novel, How Far to Bethlehem, Norah Loft adds interesting detail to Luke's account of Mary's visit to Elizabeth.  

Beautiful ornament
given to David Locke
by a dear friend
They were about to embrace and then Elizabeth took a step backward and turned pale and sweat sprang out, like beads on her brow and upper lip.
"You!" she said. "You, Mary! You are to be the mother of the Lord to whom my son is to be the forerunner.  You, blessed above all women."
Mary said, "You did not know?"
"Until this moment, no. But the child did.  It leapt as I spoke your name. So late and never a movement, I was worried. But he leapt, recognizing you and the child you are to bear."

photo courtesy of
Patsy Hendrix
Do I leap when I recognize the Child? As I hang stockings and light candles, do I leap? Not to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," but does my heart skip a beat for Christ?  When I wrap boxes, because I love wrapping paper, and embellish with beautiful bows, I step back and say, "done! wow! I can't wait for someone to see this gift!" But, does the thought of Jesus cause me to step back and think, "WOW! I can't wait for someone to see Him?" Will my guests meet Him at my table?

I don't like heights, so I turn pale as I climb the ladder and hang wreaths.  I run up and down stairs to place fresh greenery on windows. I hurriedly untangle lights for the front porch. I sweat as I prepare.  How hard do I work and prepare for a world lost in the wilderness?  To the world, do I announce that Christ comes to live in hearts? 

As I arrange Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds, I'm preparing my house for an event; however, am I prepared to introduce a savior?  My house announces, "we (along with 90% of Americans) celebrate Christmas." However, neither my home, stockings, wreaths, nor nativity scenes can tell of a personal savior who heals my dark heart, comforts me when I'm weary, and makes my crooked roads straight. 

Ornament at Locke Design
As I prepare for Christmas with decorations, cards, and cookies, when I hear your name, Jesus, please let me prepare for more than an event.  Prepare my heart to tell the coming of the Lord.   



Locke Design Omnimedia

Thanks to two very special people:
Patsy Hendrix, who shared photos from her home on a very short notice.
David Locke of Locke Designs, who graciously allowed me to photograph his amazing office and shared his love of beautiful ornaments.  Along with the ones my kids made in school, the old, unique ornaments are my favorites, and David had so many that spoke to me. 
Locke Design Omnimedia   www.lockedesign.com