Today was wonderful. It was a fairly normal day, punctuated by moments of madness, as usual. But, my perspective on our house was different. As we have explored "different" Christmas traditions this year, I have experienced renewal, relief, and freedom...especially today...
"Why Tara?" you may ask.
Well, let me tell you! Every year, the sparkly lights and Christmas decorations at all our friends' and neighbors' houses beckon me..."Buy more! Shop more! It's not Christmas without sparkly bright stuff everywhere!" It is also this time of year when I think, "I really could use a house makeover and I can't possibly have family and friends over with this old, worn, tattered decor."
In the past, our home has embarassed me at times. I am ashamed to say that I have ever seen our 1600 square foot home as anything other than a blessing. But, this year especially, there have been times I secretly (and not so secretly) cursed this house and its lack of storage, lack of space, poor paint job, clutter, and sad landscaping (we have converted most of our "landscape" to productive, but not pretty, fruit, herb and veggie gardens...and let's not forget the chicken coop!)
And then...a new friend mentioned an author to me who talks about these materialistic ideas and how we Christians might live differently, and perhaps should live differently...
I began reading and reading and reading...about the way Christians are living in third worlds (and non-Christians for that matter.) I began seeing our lives, our excesses, my own personal "buy more" obsession, in a different light. I began to realize today that our lifestyle is more than enough. It is more than most people in the world could ever hope for. I am so happy today with our home. And I feel free, like I can breathe again, after this major realization.
And I actually smiled tonight when I saw the hole in the side of our red love seat...because I was sitting in a warm house, clothed in warm jammies, with a freshly bathed little boy on my lap, books to read, light by which to read, and a wonderful spirit of thankfulness enveloped me once again and I wept. I wept because I am pregnant, but I also wept because I was so so so thankful that God did this work in my heart today.
I think this Christmas is going to be different around the Haner home. The Joneses be darned.