Cindee's husband Dave
By: Cindee Johnson
Encompass Relationship Facilitator
I love Christmas. I mean, I really LOVE Christmas. The decorating. The lights. The celebrations. The shopping. The traditions. The cooking. The gifts. The tree. It all has its place. Or so I learned. The hard way.
Because I had no peace. Only perfection.
When Dave and I married 34 years ago, I had this vision of a perfectly packaged Christmas, everything done up just right. And it all began with the Christmas tree. Which had to be fresh cut. As in Dave lying on the cold, snowy or icy or often muddy Ohio ground, cutting down the tree while our children and I held it in place.
Of course, that was after we found just the perfect Christmas tree farm. At that perfect tree farm there had to be wagon rides, and hot cocoa, and a gift shop, and all sorts of fun activities for the kids. And, picture opportunities. Lots of pictures!
All of that before we ever got to finding just the right tree. Which had to be carefully measured for just the right height and just the perfect shape with just the right kind of needles for hanging just the right ornaments. Oh, the ornaments. Perfectly placed, according to my carefully selected decorating theme of the year, among the precisely--and I do mean precisely--strung lights.
The first couple of years we were married, the themes included perfectly tied and strategically placed tiny little bows among strings of evenly draped wooden beads covering a huge tree. The third year, it was brass jingle bells. Hanging from red satin ribbons. In just the right arrangement. My right arrangement.
I worked on that jingle bell tree long into the wee hours of the night. Long after the rest of the family had given up and gone to bed. Finally, it was just right. I climbed the stairs, crawled into bed beside Dave, breathed a satisfied sigh of perfectionistic relief, closed my eyes expecting to quickly drift off to sleep, and………….CRASH! The sound reverberated through the entire house!
We all collided in the hallway as we raced downstairs to the sound of jingle bells rolling and bouncing across the living room hardwood floors only to discover our daughter's two little kittens happily frolicking amongst the mess. The mess. The tree was on its side. Ornaments and branches scattered. All among water flowing from the tree stand. Everywhere. And just like that nothing was perfect. Nothing was peaceful.
Thank God, through a personal relationship with Jesus, I came to know a more perfect and a more peaceful way of Christmas. To bow down and worship not the world's definition of Christmas—for in that, there is no peace—but to bow down in worship to God who gave us the most perfect gift of peace...Jesus the Messiah.
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NLT
I still really love Christmas. The decorating. The lights. The celebrations. The shopping. The traditions. The cooking. The gifts. The tree. But, in its place. Only as I worship, imperfectly as I am, the perfect Prince of Peace. May His peace fill your heart and your Christmas, too.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.