Keep it simple

Simple. I have little reminders in my house about keeping life simple, all because of my tendency to do the opposite. This time of year it’s rare for “simple” to be the operative word.

Scheduling for the most wonderful time of the year often becomes an impossible mess. One our Christmas parties had to move to the New Year simply because there was no day in December left on the calendar. We aren’t the only ones. I must’ve talked to more than one of you yesterday who’re having to do the same thing.

There aren’t enough days to get Christmas packed in and wrapped up. Do you remember, not many of us are that old, when the tree was decorated the week before Christmas … maybe even on Christmas Eve?

The town Christmas parade was celebrated the same week of Christmas, and we spent time on Christmas Eve celebrating Christ with a candlelight service. The candles were lit one by one, person to person and the church seemed warmed by the joy of Jesus’ birthday. That’s one event I pray will remain consistent in my world till the day I see Jesus face to face.

Afterward, we would drive through neighborhoods checking out lights. There might even have been hot chocolate waiting afterward. Some Christmases would be a trip to my grandparents. Some of my fondest memories were driving to Temple, Texas, to see my Mom and Pop. It was always modest to the core until we sat down to fill our bellies.

A gift I cherish to this day came home with me after one of those visits. It was a toy box built out of scrap wood by my Pop and lined with Roy Rogers material. Most gifts were simple back then. It still is one of my favorite things.

I remember another Christmas when my niece and nephew came in, and we put blankets around the tree and laid waiting to hear hoofs on the rooftop. I never figured out how to do that with my children … they were way too busy and noisy.

When they were little “simple” was still a way of life. It was usually a fairly early evening because a sneaky person (me) would set up all the clocks an hour. The kids went to bed in anticipation after the Candlelight service, the reading of the Luke’s account of the birth of Christ and the “Night Before Christmas.”

My best Christmas gift arrived after one of those candlelight services, the readings and the little ones tucked in bed. I was pregnant with my youngest who was due on Christmas Day and being the timely person she is, she made her entrance to “Joy to the World” early one Christmas morn. What a simply wonderful gift.

That’ll preach. I’m praying for each of us to make wonderful memories and to remember the simple reason this season is so precious. I have a sign that says it all. “Simplify Christmas…Celebrate Christ.”

Kandi Farris, a freelance correspondent, also is a speaker on matters of faith and values.