O Little Town in Iowa, how still I see thee lie… Yes, I know that that is not how the song goes. Coming out of work tonight, in the dark, the snow was flitting down, and swirling around the curbs. The light posts have been wrapped in evergreen swags, bright red bows, and white lights. Store displays are starting to show the Christmas cheer with wreaths, poinsettias, glass bulbs, and brightly colored tinsel. Nativities are out in display, the big plastic light up kinds that go in yards. I love the decorations, the mood that everyone seems to be in, as the streets are a bit brighter and so carefully prepared.
I wonder what Bethlehem looked like on that far ago night, when Joseph and Mary were getting settled in a busy town for the birth of a baby. Most certainly there were not electric lights, and I doubt that there were shops with such displays. And a space filled with the animals of travelers doesn’t seem the most festive or hygienic place for a baby to be born. I wonder if they tried to decorate it, or at least make it feel more comfortable.
As you trim your tree, light up some vanilla or pine scented candles, and pull goodies from the oven, this is a good time to remember why we decorate. As well as the humbleness of that first town, I’m sure it was not tinsel draped.