Ornament Of You

“It was late last night.
I was feeling something wasn’t right.
There was not another soul in sight,
Only you, only you…”
(1972) “I Saw The Light” Written/Recorded By: Todd Rundgren

There it is. It’s that dusty box in the corner of the attic, basement, or the garage. Part of you doesn’t look forward with great anticipation to opening the box. As you do, you say to yourself; “I sure am glad it’s only once a year.”

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Once you’ve carried it all the way to the Christmas tree by the window, you might begin to feel a bit lighter as your imagination of décor runs amuck.

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As you dig through the various ornaments in the box, old memories begin to surface. One old Rudolph ornament from your childhood shines up at you from its resting place. Suddenly you can almost feel those warm footed pajamas with the gritted soft plastic soles. Another ornament rediscovered reminds you of your new little tax deduction with painted letters saying; “Baby’s First Christmas.” Still, another ornament way back in the corner of the box, wrapped in a paper towel, has bitterness attached to it. It might be a reminder of the passing of a loved one, a year of a bankruptcy, or the death of a marriage.

A cheerful smile returns about the time you begin to string the festive colored bulbs around the tree. After a quick trip to the fridge for a cup of cheer, you step back to examine the balance of your light display thus far. A tweak here and a tweak there, and it’s on to the hanging ornaments.

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Ornaments themselves come in many shapes and sizes, not to mention textures. One of my favorites comes from my childhood. Made of wood, painted in red and gold, are various musical instruments. I mean everything from a piano to a piccolo. I think every parent has saved precious cardboard or paper ornaments, laced with yarn, crafted by little hands from a son or daughter. I know I have a few. At one radio station I worked for, each year the general manager gave the staff the official tree ornament from the White House from that year. Usually it was made of blown glass, or crystal, and the most pricey ornament on the tree.

Then there are the regular colored glass balls cradled in Styrofoam. Sometimes the wire hooks remain attached from the year before. I know I am guilty of such a crime. Hues of red, blue, green, silver, and gold are the norms. while some prefer the solid colors. Either way, the texture of the surface of each glass ball is designed to ricochet the stringed lights, or that wonderful color wheel I adore. In fact, the average glass ball ornament reflects more than just the holiday lights, but any other item it can catch in its reflective shimmering surface.

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When the job is complete, there is a quiet satisfaction which descends in your spirit as you take in the sight. The further away from the display, the more beautiful it seems to become.

As a kid, I loved to kneel down to find my reflection in one of the glass balls. Oh, the funny faces you can make as you observe your expressions on the colored balls, with the festive lights changing the color of your skin. The shock is that you find it’s not how you view yourself in a flat mirror. My cousins and I used to cackle at our holiday reflections.

Christmas cards will often spell out the truth of “giving”, or the “giving season”. Most have heard the biblical concept, spoken by Jesus, concerning the joy of gifting. The joy is greater for the one giving than the one receiving. In today’s crash and grab robberies in our culture, the perpetrators have no clue of this joy. Entitlement is a cursed word.

Actually, the purpose for the event of that first Christmas was to help us understand what we DO NOT deserve. Christmas tree time can be a tad cluttered with thoughts of giving in proportion of what’s received. Will they spend more than you? Will the wrapped gift fall short of expectations? Will you run to Walmart afterward to purchase a gift card to make up for a gift you felt was too small? Yikes! What a mess we’ve made of this celebration. The wonderful gift given, the Savior Of All Sinners, the baby in the manger, speaks loudly from heaven’s gates, “I love you so much, I am giving of Myself to rescue you from your sinful nature birthed in Eden so long ago.” Truly, a gift given we do not deserve. When an honest look in the reflection is had, “entitlement” is far from the view. If one feels like the gift is unnecessary, that one will never receive the gift of redemption. Being rescued from oneself can only be accomplished by One Who is holy, without spot, without a condition of the fall.

As you peer into the glass ball ornament, don’t expect to see yourself in what you have come to recognize in the vanity mirror. What you can expect are distortions, coloring of shades not seen on your picture ID.

Yes, the decorated tree is beautiful, and rightly so, but in a private moment of biblical truth, glance closely at the reflective ball. In that moment, allow it to be a reminder of our distorted views, or misshaped slants, our condition of falling short through the prism of God’s righteousness exhibited in Jesus. Bittersweet is the true story of Christmas.

Any time of the year, find out how God truly views you in fuel for the race.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” – 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NAS)


21 Replies to “Ornament Of You”

  1. Yes! This beautifully echoes a great discussion we had in Sunday School today about how to recapture the true vision of Christmas. May we indeed see as He sees.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow, such an apt title. Good reflections Alan. So many things in life reflect us. My dad and mom used to say they were proud of the reflection of them and also of the Lord when they looked at their kids.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Alan, I love how your writing seems to take us on an unknown journey. You captivate me in the opening and so often surprise me where you end. Let us be mindful of our reflection and let His light dazzle the world with the hope of redemption.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Beautiful perspective! No truer words than these of yours: “What a mess we’ve made of this celebration.” Thank you for reminding us believers to focus on the true miraculous meaning and gift God gave us on that first Christmas instead of on ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We never had glass ornaments where we could see our reflections! In fact, my mom had a custom decorated tree that instead of bulbs had spinning carousels and poinsettias. With that said, all the moving I have done in the past two years, I now have my mom’s Christmas decorations. Well, Sunday I pulled some out of their boxes and unbubble wrapped them and now I am running around my house spraying Lysol and Febreze to take out the AWFUL, nasty, musty stench. Sin reeks and offends God and these decorations stink. I am thankful now more than ever that Christ’s work on the cross while a stench to the world is a pleasing aroma to those who believe. I pray that we will be a pleasing aroma to Christ this year. In my mind this is making sense your connection with the distortion and the glass bulbs and my connection with us thinking we smell better than we really do. We have made a smelly mess out of Christ’s birth and I am thankful that we are on this journey together. You are in my prayers, Alan. Love, hugs and blessings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, dear Mandy. I can see you running through the house spraying Lysol everywhere after opening the box of old ornaments. It reads like a situation comedy. Hopefully the stink is gone & the decorations will cheer. I’m grateful for you & your friendship. Merry Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Wow, Mandy, that is so true! I want to smell like Jesus, and maybe someday I will. Of course, if we are the “aroma of life” to those being saved, we’ll be the “stench of death” to those who are perishing. We’ll never please everyone, so I just want to please Him.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Such an inspiring post. I wish I could have read it earlier, but perhaps today is the perfect day. I agree with the comment above about how you take us on a journey and we arrive at a Biblical truth. You have such a gift for this…I never want to ‘rush’ reading one of your posts. I would surely miss something important. Thank you for sharing your gift with us…

    Liked by 1 person

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