1 Cor 13: 13 "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
Each of us has those holiday traditions that are incredibly important to us personally. In general, everything about Christmas makes me happy. I love my special nativity my parents got us when we got married, complete with specially-made box for safekeeping. I'm a big fan of our tree, matching and full of bold colors. And I truly enjoy my special Christmas hand towels. But nothing says Christmas to me like outdoor lights. Ever since I was a child, I enjoyed the day that my dad would take his life into his own hands, climb up on some (usually icy) ladder and hang off our roof attempting to arrange the perfect light combo. When I got old enough to not request multi colored lights layered with green and orange (my favorite colors) I actually got to give input on how I thought the lights should be.
One year in particular, life was busy at our home and my parents had decided that maybe we would just do indoor lights. I was about 13 or so this particular year. My mom mentioned at the breakfast bar one morning that we weren't going to do lights this year, and I think my face immediately turned to something resembling a child whose Christmas was taken by the Grinch. The next day, my dad was up on the ladder with dozens of light strands all around him. When I asked, he said he couldn't bear to see me all sad and if lights meant that much to me, they meant that much to him, too. Never have we had a Christmas without outdoor lights. Even though I don't live in their home any more, they still have lights up every year and it's been referenced that this is partially because of my love for them.
Flash forward to this Christmas. This is the first Christmas in our new home and I was so excited to put up Christmas decorations that I couldn't even wait until after Thanksgiving. A week before turkey, my house had 4 trees, 6 hand towels, 4 stockings (for my brother and Rigo, of course), 2 wreaths, and one nativity. I was so excited to put up lights!! The "star" on the tree of Christmas--our outdoor lights. I prepped them and laid them out. Unfortunately, Hubs and I got a little busy with work. About the time life slowed down and we had a free weekend, we got 2 1/2 inches of snow and everything in our little yard was covered in ice. I resigned to the fact that we would just have to waits for lights til next year. I said this to my mom, who was supportive and assured me that they would look beautiful next year and sometimes life just gets in the way of the things we want.
As I was putting the finishing touches on my final paper yesterday morning at 9 a.m., there was a knock at my door. I wasn't expecting anyone and I was a little taken aback by the knock. I opened the door to see my darling dad standing there. He smiled and said "I'm here to put up your Christmas lights. Your mom said you weren't going to put any up this year, so I bought some especially for you." Anyone who knows me can tell you I am a little sentimental and I cry at, say, a good All-State commercial. Of course I melted like a baby. I was overwhelmed by my dad's kindness and expressed love. My brother showed up a few minutes later, and as I finished the paper, they finished my lights. Now, the back story is that my dad had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. in order to get there in time. My mom says this wasn't an issue, because he couldn't sleep he was so excited. Friends, that is true love. He was gone in a flash--didn't even stay for lunch. But as I pulled out of my driveway on the way to a Christmas party, my face lit up at they sight of our lights. I am sure that's all he wanted.
I feel honored to have a dad who loves the Lord and loves me too. And the awesome thing is, both of my parents are such servants that they show these kindnesses to people in their small town on a daily basis. I know when the Lord said the greatest was love, He was speaking of the big things, like his son sacrificing his life. I also think he was talking about the small things, like taking a few hours off to string Christmas lights on your daughter's house, simply to see her smile. Or cry.
It's a bad photo but enjoy the sentiment.
Here's to Christmas miracles and awesome families.