Okay, folks, I think we need to talk “bling” here for a moment.
I know what you’re thinking: “It’s Christmas, Derek, not Mardi-Gras!”
Yet here I am, a nice conservative(ish) Christian man, and my living room has gone all “fabulous!”
You: “Could you please explain how this came about?”
Well I’d be glad to.
First off, I’m not going to assume that every one of you have already read the opening pages of my Christmas book (In My Heart I Carry A Star: stories for Advent). In fact I know you couldn’t have, because I’ve seen the sales figures! So, instead, I’ll give you the CliffsNotes version of where we’re coming from.
Basically, our baptism (by immersion) into the world of no-holds-barred Christmas boils down to an epiphany Rebekah had the first Advent season after her mother died in 1999.
Joy to the world!
BLOWING THE LID OFF: For years, Rebekah and I had always been rather reserved in our decorations. We were trying hard to keep our focus as a family on the real story of love and redemption.
But then it dawned on Rebekah (and her mother’s passing had a lot to do with this) that life is for living, and it’s for living RIGHT NOW, and that if there is anything in this world worth celebrating with all the enthusiasm we can muster, then it would have to be the birth of Jesus, the entry point of grace and redemption into the story of human history.
Christmas marks the entry point of grace and redemption into the story of human history.
So I went off to work one day, oblivious to the coming tidal-wave of festive overload, and when I returned home there was Rebekah, up on the roof, laying down enough lights to bring home a 747 like the main runway at Tampa International Airport.
SHORT CIRCUIT? It was as if Rebekah wanted to make up for all those years of moderation. Simply put, she blew the lid off, and our home hasn’t been the same since.
I’m pleased to report that we haven’t shorted out the neighborhood power grid yet (that’s always been my neighbor Jim’s role) but we have been very very good for the balance sheets of our friends at Tampa Electric.
And, more importantly, we have fun and experience joy that is centered 100% around the celebration of Jesus, the festival of the Incarnation, and the jubilation of God’s great grace and mercy and love.
NO-BRAINER: Seriously, folks, this is a celebration worth going over the top for! Back in 2003, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the SuperBowl, the entire city went berserk. Spontaneous parties spilled out onto the streets. People opened their car windows, stuck their heads out, and just yelled for the sake of yelling. Nobody was embarrassed; everyone understood.
Christmas represents so much more than the hoopla of a team winning a game. This is God’s breaking in to time and space! It’s the beginning of the end for the reign of darkness! It’s the dawn of redemption and restoration for every human being on the face of this planet!
You can grant us a little bling for that, now, can’t you?
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14)