Christmas Lights

Yesterday lights on my tree went out. We thought a plug came loose  – although we all know this could never happen since my kids and dog are so calm and never throw things or hit the tree.  I woke up thinking about how to do this.  I may have actually dreamed about it.

Therefore, today, I will take everything off and re-do my tree if necessary. Even though I need to shop and do a zillion other things, the tree is a priority.

Why? Needles will be everywhere and I will be sap-sticky and aggravated. Why I am I slightly obsessed (although after last night, Jerry would argue that the obsession is more than slight) over a tree? After all, it’s just a tree.

Is it because reminds me of Christmases growing up? Is it because for years when Jerry and I had no money to give each other gifts, the tree WAS my gift?  Is it all for the kids? Why is it that I, in all my frugalness and practicality, must have my real tree instead of buying an artificial one time and using it every year when that makes so much more sense?

I think the tree feels like home.

A real tree looks uneven and has holes. When the lights are off, the branches look bunched up and the wires show. The ornaments look a little dull.

But when the lights are on, it becomes transformed. The wires fade into the green and the ornaments are illuminated. The imperfections are covered and it draws us to sit and enjoy it. It becomes beautiful and inviting.

tree and mantle

Kind of like us. We are real and messy, imperfect and full of holes. When Jesus comes to live in us, we take on His light and become light. We are still imperfect and bunched-up but His light covers us and illuminates through us.

The Light of the World Himself asks us to be Him to the world. His light is inviting. His light is comforting.

His light is home.



Sorry I’m Late…

I used to be an on-time person. Not particularly early, (unlike those who show up annoyingly early before things are ready and we all know who those people are), but at least arriving at the proper hour. However, lately, (no pun intended), I have just been, well – late.

I stay up late, my kids stay up late, sleep late (don’t judge- they are homeschooled and that means we can), my husband works late. And I run late.

I’ve become that friend who gets there last. The one who calls to say, “Sorry, but I’m running a little late…”

I’m even late on the newest technology.  We still own VCR’s, we still have one TV that isn’t a flat screen and I just got an iPhone 5.  But apparently the 6 is way better. Or so I hear.  So please, just let me have my fun and enjoy my thumb sensor unlocky- thingy, panorama pictures and be happy for a little while.

I will say that one thing I don’t do late is sleep. Late, that is. Well, sometimes I don’t sleep either, but I digress.

This year, (every year), I am late decorating for Christmas. At least according to Instagram and Facebook where I see all my friends’ tinseled trees and evergreen-ed mantels.

But I’m working on it. Last night was the Neely-Annual-Picking-Out-the-Tree-and-Family-Dinner-Out. We got started late. Remember the hard-working husband who works late?

After proper tree-stand adjusting, branch-cutting and the boy’s box-tossing- from -attic antics (if any of my Christmas ornaments are broken….), it was late.  “I’m sorry kids, but 11:30 pm is a little too late to start decorating the tree…” Even I have to draw the line.

So Josh slept late. And was late for school. And taking him late means homeschool starts late. Again.

Daddy used to say, “I’m a day late and a dollar short,” but I never remember him being either.

Unlike me. And I can also excuse my tardiness with “Better late than never.” That is if I’m going to start quoting  clichés.

Yet, somehow in the business of life, it all gets  done. At least the important things.

So the tree will wait until tonight after church.  Although, I really could do it today. I could squeeze it in while my girl is at work, between school and all the other stuff I have to do. I could even decorate it just the way I wanted – all symmetrical and color-coordinated. Not that it would be wrong…

But then it wouldn’t be “our” tree.  And the point of it all is to do it together.

Isn’t it about the journey rather than the destination? Another cliché. I must stop.

So here is an original:

Isn’t the doing it better than it just getting done?

photo (15)


Here is a peek at my naked tree and mantle scattered with things just sort of left there and tossed upon it. Definitely not my usual decked-out mantle decor.

But I kind of like it. It’s simple and a bit rustic. I may decide to keep it.

Some things we come upon by accident. Sometimes they come late.

I’m thinking that late doesn’t always mean after the proper time.

Just maybe, sometimes late is the perfect time.