At the Heart of Things
I put up Christmas decorations this weekend. I've been extra since before that was a thing. Four trees. Three tubs of decor. Two super excited littles wanting to touch every.breakable.item. No partridge or pear tree, but I did dig out one ordinary nativity scene that has caused me problems since Rory could walk.
You are tired of hearing it, I know. But I am a One on the Enneagram (see earlier post for more information on all of that), and one of the hallmarks of Ones is our hypervigilance to all items being in their place, looking right and perfect. Everything just so.
Every year I set out this nativity. Jesus front and center. Mary and Joseph right behind Him. The wise men and cow off to one side. The angel and shepherds and sheep to the other in a neat semi-circle where everyone is visible.
Neat. Orderly. Aesthetically appealing to the eye.
Every year since she was able, Rory would move my neat and tidy nativity scene like the picture above. Every character in a circle...some with their backs to passersby... and tiny baby Jesus in the center pretty much invisible to everyone.
I would move the characters back. She would circle them up again. Back and forth. Back and forth. Every year.
This year she did it again right away. We didn't have a conversation about it. In fact, I don't think we've ever talked about the nativity scene dance we do.
I've decided that she's right. I am not going to move them back to what looks better to my eye. I've decided that, much like life, it's more important what's at the heart of things.
I imagine that on that night in Bethlehem that the shepherds and wise men and even the animals gathered as tightly around Baby Jesus as they could. They didn't stand in a pretty little line staring out with hand-drawn smiles.
To worship is to turn toward the one being worshipped. To focus intently on Him regardless of how it looks to you or others. Sometimes I miss that in my daily life, and I was definitely wrong about the nativity set.
This season I am going to put more emphasis on what really matters. I am going to turn away from distractions. I am going to turn my heart toward Jesus. I want to take a page out of Rory's book. A child-like faith where having Jesus at the center is the obvious choice and the aesthetics of the thing an afterthought.
It's not a Christmas song, per se. But this holiday season, I am going to make it my anthem:
"O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
and life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full on His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace."
-Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Helen Hemmel 1922