Psalm 119:27 – Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. (KJV)

When we moved into our home fifteen years ago, I saw the cedars surrounding our front walkway as models for all sorts of celebrations, the first of which was Christmas.

First, I made choir gowns out of old sheets, dying them a robust red, complete with little black collars. Then I went to a local lumberyard and had a gentleman cut out thirteen circles, some large, some small. I took them home and painted faces on them, some in subtle supplication, some with mouths wide open in song. We wrapped the gowns around the cedars, hung the faces gently in the little branches above, and circled some of their heads with tiny little lights. For the finishing touch, we set a spotlight to shine on them.

Our youngest child thought them to be neat, but the teenagers were rather embarrassed, for my choir seemed perhaps a little outlandish, garish even, compared to our neighbours, who restricted their decorations to lights, angels, snowmen, or plastic lamp posts made more of the manufactured style than my little homemade choir.

Throughout the first Christmas season, people would often stop and look; some would comment. Our children's friends loved the little choir.

The next and following years, I'd be asked, "When is the Choir going up?" The cedars grew as the years wore on and the gowns wore out, so I resorted to using soft white plastic sheeting for the gowns — making them much more durable than cloth, when the rains came. The choir still goes up each year, and the now-adult teenagers, who were so embarrassed the first year, are often the first to ask.

We're like that in our spiritual walk, some of us. As an example, when an exuberant Christian in our midst uses words like blessing where we would say lucky or fortunate, we may find we are a little embarrassed to do the same, perhaps from fear of being ridiculed, cajoled, or rejected. Then slowly, slowly, we see what they have seen, feel what they have felt, and, before we know it, we've slipped the new word into our speech, and become one of those who acknowledge that fortune or luck had nothing to do with what happened, and that it was, indeed, a blessing.

Prayer: Lord, may one of the blessings of this Christmas season be that we always try to be accepting first, not rejecting. May we look at things with an open mind, not a closed one, and accept and acknowledge those blessings you bring us each day. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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