The Heart(h) in Your Home
Actually, in my town it was here just after Hallowe’en – Christmas candy, “Get the Jump on Black Friday” signs, lighting crews putting up lights… Sigh!
When my children were young I tried to join in this rush to joy. One year, on Christmas Eve, my frantic race to the finish ended with this nightmare.
It is Christmas Eve and I am wearily trudging upstairs to bed. The stockings, “hung with care,” are filled with Santa treats; the table is set for a breakfast of homemade Christmas tree bread, mandarin oranges, and hot chocolate; the living room is festive with homemade decorations; the presents from family out of town circle the tree. All seems in order including special clothes for Church, Christmas dinner, and our Boxing Day party.
But as I look down on the triumph of holiday preparations I had begun even before Thanksgiving, I am suddenly horrified to realize that I have not bought presents for our little family and some special friends. What can I do? It is 11 pm and the stores are closed – even the pharmacy and grocery stores. I panic! My heart pounds and I wake up in a sweat.
This was indeed a wake up call. My husband and I had always tried to keep the “reason for the season” in mind. As careful as we had been – putting a cap on Christmas spending, buying presents over the year on sale, reusing decorations from the year before – we were still victims of celebration creep.
This nightmare has dogged me ever since. Whenever I get into a materialistic frenzy and “just throw money at it,” whatever that “it” is at the time, I wake up with this nightmare. The reality is that money can never replace the heart in a home.
Where is the heart in a home? It is the place where people gather to share their stories, a meal, a laugh, their heartache. No amount of money can make up for the special places we create that make our friends and family feel they have “come home”.
Long ago our ancestors gathered around a fire, told stories, and held each other. In fact, a dwelling was not a home without a hearth. Lighting a fire in a newlywed’s hearth was the symbol that they were now “at home.”
Put your credit card back in your wallet. Look around your house, find the heart(h) in your home, and put your time and energy into making that the center of your celebrations this season.
Let your life be filled with light, love, laughter, and hope for the future.