{I’m joining a special holiday Blog Carnival hosted on Blog Nosh Magazine Our theme is “hope”.  Thanks to our sponsor, Tide Loads of Hope program, which is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to helping others; in essence, offering hope to those in need!}

I’m sure it all started with visions of sugar plums, dancing ’round my head like Coyote’s stars after Road Runner smacks him in the head with a cast iron skillet.

DSC_5651 At some point in Christmas Past, these are my illusions of grandeur: 

Children (freshly scrubbed, neatly dressed and mannerly) joining my husband (dressed in a crew neck Christmas sweater and slacks) (yes, slacks, that’s kind of important) and me (pearls and a June Cleaver dress, bosoms unnaturally pointed and waist the size of Scarlet O’Hara’s–let’s be realisticafter giving birth to Bonnie Blue) decorating tree and home.  Efficient and precise, my husband, would string the lights as the children tenderly unwrapped each ornament, taking time to recall memories or giver attached to each.  Aussie, head resting on crossed paws in front of a fire’s roar, would gaze sleepily upon our merriment.  I’d stop long enough to serve hot chocolate with mounds of whipped cream and offer home made cookies, each a Martha Stewart masterpiece.  I’d hesitate with intention to capture the moment, wanting to catalog the scene in my heart and mind, not daring to interrupt the feng shui with camera and flash.  There’d be much laughter and story telling, and one of us would eventually find our way to the piano, where we’d all join in a hearty performance of the “12 Days of Christmas”.  They’d always let me sing “Fiiiive…goooolden….riiiiings!” because they know it’s my favorite.

Well, buckets of rain on my delusional Rockwell-esque Christmas parade; the Road Runner must’ve smacked ME upside the head with a skillet!   When all is said and done, I’m pretty much the one who does it all. 

This year, dripping martyrdom and attitude, I found myself wondering “Is it worth it?”  They’d notice, of course, but would anyone care if I didn’t decorate our home?  

I toyed with it. 

I dared myself.

I thought “if this isn’t radical Christmas change, I don’t know what is!”

Somewhere between evergreening our mantle and stringing garland on entryway stairs, it occurred to me why I would invest so much time and energy into a holiday tradition.  It’s not tangled in the wrappings of gifts given or received.  And while I so delight in spending time with family and friends…and inhaling the scents and tastes of the Season…I realized my true motive–why I care about serving my family in this menial, thankless, beautiful way–it’s a simple expression to honor a King. 

The tradition of Christmas is rooted in the hope
offered by a King who Himself embodies hope…
who not only offers hope, but IS hope.

Last night, I caught the end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” in particular Linus’ recitation of Luke 2:8-14, his response to Charlie Brown’s meltdown over questioning the meaning of Christmas.  It ends, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The holidays are filled with unending hope
because of their genesis. 

Believers and non-believers alike are moved during the holidays, perhaps more than any other time on the calendar, to consider and act on the behalf of those in need.  They–no, WE–become vessels of hope because of our investment in other people’s lives. 

We manifest hope by ringing bells and dropping coins in red kettles…

…by packing shoe boxes full of gifts…

…by sponsoring a child and releasing them from material and spiritual poverty…

…by praying for our friends, those IRL and those online…

…by being generous…always…

and sometimes by washing clothes for someone else.


So…I decorate our home.  A simple offering for my family.  Delusional ideals of what “Christmas” is supposed to look like have been replaced with remembering.  Refocusing.  “Giving” in the best sense.  These decorations are symbols of hope to me, constant reminders to be hope to those who need it most.

I really should thank my family sometime :).


Tide-Loads of Hope

Loads of Hope for the Holidays

Please join us at Blog Nosh Magazine as we share stories of hope this holiday season in support of the Tide Loads of Hope program, a mobile laundromat offering laundry services to families affected by disasters. 

Share your own stories of hope, along with Blog Nosh Magazine, Velveteen Mind, and a gathering of inspiring bloggers, and enter your own post link in the blog carnival below.  Visit Blog Nosh Magazine to explore featured bloggers as well as three featured posts selected from carnival participants listed in the linky (that could be you!). Lend your voices now, then participate live during a two day event in New Orleans, Sunday and Monday, December 13 and 14, as we tweet stories of resilience from laundry recipients and volunteers on the ground.  Follow along on twitter via #loadsofhope and be sure to follow @TideLoadsofHopeLearn more about how you can extend hope to families affected by disasters by visiting http://tideloadsofhope.com
Blog carnival hosted by Blog Nosh Magazine, sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope.

How do the holidays fill you with loads of hope?  Do share!

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