Deck the Halls, Singles Style
By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Sr. Producer
I love my roommate. She is a wonderfully deep, sensitive, smart woman of God with an inner prayer warrior and a witty sense of humor. And she is a whole lot different from me, which causes me to appreciate her more during this time of year.
A case in point: Christmas decorating at our house. Last year I was so proud of myself for finally breaking down, spending the 10 bucks, and bringing home a 4-inch, Charlie Brown tree that takes about 10 minutes to set up. It’s great for someone like me who just wants decorations up in a hurry. I unpack my handful of mismatched ornaments and throw them up on the tree. Then I plug in the one string of mini lights, and I have a bit of festive beauty in the house in no time flat.
This year, two days after Thanksgiving, I was feeling the itch to set the stage for Christmas, so out came the tree for the second year in a row. I placed my typical six ornaments on the tree, wound the lights, and watched the sparkle.
About a week later, my roommate announced that she had purchased a large, artificial tree at a discount and would be decorating it that night. Within a two-day span of planning, hanging colored balls in the most appropriate places, and finding just the right tinsel, she was done.
I witnessed a gorgeously adorned tree that a friend remarked could actually be on display at the mall. I wholehearted agreed. It was truly perfect in its beauty, a testament to a woman with awesome taste and great care in pulling together a work of art. My little spontaneous, lopsided tree just couldn’t compare. I had to laugh at the difference.
The same kind of chuckle escapes my lips when it comes to Christmas gift wrapping. First, I usually wait to do a boatload of gifts a night or two before I have to ship them. And me, I use way too much tape, a habit my mother has caught me doing for years now. That supposedly invisible tape – don’t believe it for a minute. It becomes an eye sore when I try desperately to keep together awkwardly shaped presents. Then it’s the old peel and stick, already made bows you get in a bag and a couple of sparkly labels and I am done. (Hey, it’s the thought that counts.) After two solid hours of taming the pile into some semblance of Christmas cheer, surrounded by shreds of gift wrap and mini tape balls, I am completely spent but proud to have accomplished a monumental task.
In contrast, my roomie does only a couple of gifts at a time, the wiser way to apportion time and attention to each individual’s specially wrapped package. She makes the bows herself from beautifully selected ribbon and only the best gift wrap. Each parcel is almost too pretty to open.
I have to admit, I am impressed with the display of preparation and beauty that unfolds before me each year, courtesy of my housemate. One of these days, that kind of talent is going to rub off on me, I just know it.
Then just last night, my roommate gently placed my gift under the tree. I soon realize that was a hint. It dawned on me that this was the night that we were doing our gift exchange. Since we both go out of town to visit family during the holidays, we try to celebrate before Christmas. A bit flustered, I excused myself to throw together her gift. No color-coordinated gift bag here – there was just no time. I found some light green tissue paper in my bedroom and a too-big, wrong-color bag that I stole from the garage. Within minutes and a flurry of activity, I had bagged the goodies and sheepishly snuck the gift under the tree. Despite my frankly ugly wrapping job, my roommate still loved what I got her, a pressed-flower picture in a small frame and some fragrant hand soap.
We shared an awesome time of exchanging not only heart-felt gifts, but laughter and hope for a new year as well. I realized that we are a good match when we work together. My spontaneous, sometimes haphazard decorating is nonetheless a cause for humor and lightens the mood, whereas my roommate brings quiet and contemplative inspiration. Together, we bring the elements that are most needed at Christmas and always: peace, beauty, holiness, joy, and laughter.
Whether you bring awe or you bring a bit of quirky mirth to your house this season, know that the object is still the same: honor and praise to Jesus Christ, our Savior. So, however God chooses to shine His light through your home this year, let that joy and wonder rest on you now and always. Merry Christmas!
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