It is a feast for the eyes. Everywhere – all the surfaces, walls, tabletops, even chairs – are covered with Christmas. All the memories, all the treasures, all the gifts – all of it is known and loved by a woman who my children fondly refer to as “the puppet lady.” She earned this name because she has a puppet ministry that travels to the ends of this great earth to tell people about Jesus’ love for them.
Each year, The Puppet Lady opens her home up to our church, our community, early in December for Jesus’ Birthday Party. We have gone every year since we moved to the farm. Each year, no matter what, my kid’s eyes, and even mine too, light up at all the Christmas decorations. All the beauty, all the sparkle, all the love contained in these things.
With all of the people and music and food at the birthday party, it is hard to notice everything – it becomes sensory overload for me. There is so much to see, so much to drink in, that it feels impossible. But today, we were treated to a tour with a few other homeschooling families. It was wonderful to be able to just look, to notice, to take more of it in – and in our few hours, I only took in the tip of the iceberg.
It would take hours, maybe even days, to see it all. Multiple Christmas trees – each with hundreds of ornaments, as well as it’s own theme and related book, Santa figurines from cultures all over the world, hand-painted, framed Bible verses and quotes from books on the walls, glittery snowflakes, lights of all different colors, and, the kids favorite – handmade toys from around the world.
One could say that she was a bit over the top and leave it at that. And at first, that’s what I thought. But then I got to know The Puppet Lady, and saw her heart. All of this – the lights, the music, each tree, each stocking, each ornament – she does it all to celebrate the joy of the season. The joy of Christmas. The joy of God with us. And that adds a beauty to the whole thing that none of the teddy bears from Germany or elephant ornaments from India would have on their own. For her, all of this glorious excess points to and celebrates how amazing it is that Christ came into this dark and dreary place to bring the light – to rescue us.
As I walked through the house today, I took the time to look, to really see. I wanted to drink it all in. I had my eyes open. I realized that if you look and see, even though you can’t see it all, you walk away blessed. And that’s the point. When you look for God, you see him. Every day, everywhere. Not just at Christmas. Not just on perfect days, but on dreary days and hard days too. And when you do that, you walk through life blessed.
I wish it was as easy to see God in our world as it is at The Puppet Lady’s. I wish I saw him in sparkling snowflake beauty and Christmas lights and shining eyes of kids playing with toys every day. It’s harder to see him when I am surrounded by this hurting, hard world. But I know that when I actually remember to look for him, I will see him and then all will be transformed into the beauty of Christmas. God with us, every day.