Christmas had always been a small, intimate gathering, just my family and grandparents. There were presents and food, but I have to admit that once the packages were ripped open, the rest of the holiday was a letdown.
But one Christmas, when I was a teenager, we packed up our meals and traveled to a small mountain village, where we gathered with all of our aunts, uncles and cousins, each family in its own little cabin, and celebrated a “back-to-nature” Christmas of sorts.
Decorating was a whole family effort. No one brought any ornaments, so we cut and glued construction paper ornaments, strung cranberries and popcorn. We went hiking and collected pinecones. We decorated two short skimpy trees with our meager offerings, resulting in the two most beautiful and striking trees I had ever seen.
We had very few gifts to exchange that year, having given our gift money to a charity. Instead we ate together, laughed and played games, hiked and talked.
I shouldn’t have been satisfied with so little, but for the first time in my life, I was. Gathered in the mountains with my whole family, I experienced love, unity and simplicity.
God sent paper, popcorn and pinecones, and I was satisfied.
Jesus, move into the heart of our celebrations and satisfy us. Amen. — LH