(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

‘Twas the day before Christmas Eve and all through our house, not many Christmas decorations were showing, except for a few stockings and some easily-accessible items that could be set up high. My year had been long, filled with too much gloom and doom, weighed down by parental possessions “stored” in my home, and hampered by physical injury and pain, at the same time sharp puppy teeth remained ready and able to destroy anything left below three and a half feet.

In short, I didn’t know if Christmas could happen in a living room where all those extra possessions had arrived at a time when everything in our home had to be out of reach and when my back’s condition lowered my already low ability to deal with the physical manifestation of my parents’ lifetimes.

The dust and I collected in that room where my spirit often felt trapped by my body’s limitations and those boxes. Add in the rollicking of two exuberant young dogs who brought in dirt from the great outdoors, and we had our own little Dust Bowl, right in our own home.

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

As determined as I had been to find the floors and table so we could decorate for Christmas—as well as move past this year—by December 23rd I had lost my commitment to finish with anything more than the most basic goal of a clean-enough house. After all, our Christmas tree stood lighted in the room even if I couldn’t imagine any ornaments would be truly safe in our house this year—perhaps that was decoration enough.

That’s when a not-so-little elf stepped in, inspired by the movie Elf.

While Sherman and I were out shopping, Christiana—the once-preschool-artist who used to make artwork from items snatched from the recycling bin—pulled out paper, scissors, and an X-Acto knife in order to create a festive yet puppy-friendly set of colorful decorations: chains, snowflakes, and cut-out ornaments such as candles, stars, and gingerbread men.

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

The hot pink, lime green, neon orange, lemon yellow, and blue-purple chains made a tropical paradise out of my frozen Christmas spirit: I hadn’t missed it, after all. Why it was only Christmas Eve Eve—plenty of time to save the holiday.

She cut, stapled, and hung. Sherman and I wrapped after our elf suggested we could still have presents out if we put them on top of the piano where our puppy, AKA Goat Boy, could not reach. Christiana made a skirt tree from paper to cover the tree stand, but we made do when we decorated the piano top.

Truth is traditional Christmas colors didn’t match the paper chains anyway. Other than grabbing a few more lights and some tinsel from our usual decorating boxes, we left everything else in the garage. No, the material on top of the piano came from leftover quilting projects—after a few snips with my mother’s pinking shears, we had a virtual rainbow of colors resting beneath the presents.

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

The tropical transformation continued once again during the daytime hours of Christmas Eve.

Our traditional “winter wonderland” the kids make on top of the piano that suggests skiing and sledding and a White Christmas? Well, instead we put down purple material and Jackson and Christiana created the scene with various colorful toys. Blue bears, dragons, Pokey, dinosaurs, and Kermit—oh my?

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

With all the life changes we had experienced, we needed to find a different way to celebrate—this year was not at all like all the Christmases we knew.

But with the lights twinkling amidst all the color, and other elves doing more basic cleaning and preparations, I soldiered on and got that table cleared—a few days after the longest night of the year, but just in time for the brightest night of the year. Upon that table we set out multi-colored Fiestaware instead of matching china and crystal, said our prayers, and then toasted—to what had been and to what was still to come.

Without the helpful push for Christmas spirit in our home, I might not have opened up to the Christmas story and the Spirit celebrated later that night in our church. Sometimes, when our faith is on the shelf, God has to send human hands to remind us of light on this earth before we can see the True Light.

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

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