Phyllis Diller once commented that “cleaning house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling snow while it’s snowing.” I feel the same way about decorating the Christmas tree! As soon as I place an ornament on my carefully arranged branches, my almost-four-year-old twins have their hands all over it. They just can’t seem to leave the tree alone. They’ve rearranged the garland, left one side of the tree bare, and broken off Lisa Simpson’s head (part of a Simpsons ornament collection presented to my teenage son last year)! Frankly, the tree’s a mess. You can bet my home won’t be appearing in House Beautiful any time soon!
But when this lack of perfection starts to get on my nerves, I think about a beautiful story written by Marla Feldman in my book, It’s Twins! She talks about how she was so proud of her beautiful and immaculate home before her twins arrived. Her first-born daughter was a very gentle child and allowed Marla to maintain her home’s loveliness. When she and her husband had difficulty conceiving a second child, they turned to adoption and were unexpectedly blessed with twins! However, reality soon set in. Marla had to rearrange all of her furnishings to accommodate the extensive baby gear and supplies. And when the twins entered the toddler stage, they acquired an appetite for destruction! Marla’s beautiful dining-room chairs became pocked with tiny bite marks, her rugs became stained with dropped food and drink, and safety locks had to be installed on every door and drawer. Sure, Marla shed a few tears about the way things once were, but she knows that she is blessed beyond belief. She concludes that her children “live in a house where they can be kids. We do not fret over the mess. All three are happy and healthy. And I think to myself, Yes, I have a beautiful home. ”
The true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with a gorgeously decorated house, a perfectly proportioned tree or shiny bulbs all around. Kids teach us about what really matters at Christmas. We were watching Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas tonight (the cartoon version, which is my favorite), and when they got to the part where the narrator said that the Grinch’s heart was two sizes too small, my little Austen explained, “That’s because he doesn’t have Jesus in his heart!” So, how is your Christmas spirit this year?