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What Does it Mean?

ORGANIZED UNDER: Faith // Family

Significance in Our Treasures

When I was growing up, we loved to decorate for Christmas. The tree went up right after Thanksgiving. Tinsel lined the stairwell, accompanied by stockings from previous years. Nativity sets, a holiday village, and other décor found places throughout the house. The dreary late autumn days always seemed more cheerful when colorful Christmas treasures came out of their year-long hiding places.

I transferred that love for Christmas decorations to my own home after my husband and I got married. Fortunately, he enjoyed it, too, and participated in the festivities without complaint.

Too Much

As we began accumulating our married life stash of decorations, though, we missed one important reality. More is not always better.

For years, we pulled boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations out of storage. We hauled them with us as we moved from house to house. And, as time progressed, we began to wonder why we had all of those decorations in the first place.

Finally, the light began to dawn. We didn’t need it all!

Sorting through the piles, we discovered that some items had meaning, but others were just stuff. Apart from the fact that it was somehow related to Christmas, the stuff had no real relevance. It led us to really evaluate what was and was not important.

I’ll be honest with you—we still have a pretty big supply of decorations. And we have added delightful autumn decor to the Christmas stash! But were you to come to my house in October or November, I could tell you why we have each autumn or Thanksgiving piece. And, once the Christmas decorations come out, I can walk you through our display of nativities, tree ornaments, and other décor, explaining the origin and unique nature of each one.

True Meaning of Our Treasures

But the explanations are not simply justifications for owning a bunch of stuff.

Growing up in a homeschool family taught me that every aspect of life can be used to teach. Although I do not remember my parents actively teaching me as we decorated the house, the foundation of life lessons has led me to see how my own children can be taught, even through our autumn, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decor.

Our autumn treasures are cutesy and fun, reminding us that there is joy even as the days grow shorter and the weather drearier.

Our Thanksgiving décor revolves around hosting friends and loved ones, celebrating the blessing of relationships and fellowship.

The nativity sets remind us that our celebration is about Jesus. But they go even further. We do not have nativities just for the sake of collecting them. Each one we own has special significance – or represents the celebration of a specific country or culture – and we can remember and teach our children that some gifts and possessions truly are more special than others.

Each tree ornament also has special meaning or significance. Memories flow as we look at each one and recall the past experiences that have made us who we are today.

In our materialistic society, it is easy to be caught up in the stuff of holidays. We fill our homes with seasonal fun because that is what we’re supposed to do, right? Or could it be that there is a better option?

The little extras of the holiday season are fun. But, they are even more precious when they actually have meaning. When we can use them to teach our children, direct our thoughts, and encourage our loved ones.

In addition to working as managing editor for HEDUA, Ann is a missionary kid, second generation homeschooler, pastor's wife, and mom of three. She loves encouraging and equipping others, especially women in the homeschooling and ministry communities.

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