“This is a Christmas house!” – Advent Day 13

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Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born!

IMG_6487There are (at least) two stories wrapped up in our Christmas wreath on the front door. There is the story of why we hang a wreath, and there is the story of our magnolia.

The particular wreaths I photographed today, the ones hanging this year on the front door of Maul-Hall, are neither handmade nor are they made of actual magnolia (full disclosure). We purchased them at Pier One.

But there they are, and they do illustrate today’s devotional thought.

This is a Christmas House! Advent Day 13

Traditionally, the Christmas wreath has always been the first Advent adornment we add to our home:

  • Christmas 1979, when we occupied my “head resident” studio apartment my senior year at Stetson;
  • living in the Simons-Law dormitory at Columbia Seminary;
  • in Pensacola, both at our patio-home and then the 1950’s ranch on Piedmont Road;
  • the 17 Christmases Rebekah and I celebrated at our fabulous Brandon home;
  • and now here, our second Advent in Wake Forest.

IMG_6495Always, it has been the wreath first. Because the wreath says in no uncertain terms, to anyone who walks by, or visits, or even drives down our street, “This is a Christmas House!”

We’re telling it to our neighbors, we’re telling it to the world, and we’re telling it to ourselves.

MAGNOLIA: We’ve always enjoyed magnolia wreaths, but they became the go-to tradition during our Piedmont Road years. We closed on the house on Andrew’s 5th birthday, and he celebrated by climbing the magnificent magnolia tree outside the front door. All the way to the top. Well over 50-ft.

We didn’t know about this until we heard him yelling, “Look, mamma, I can see the church from up here!” “Up where? Where are you?” “At the top of my magnolia, mamma.”

But it wasn’t just Andrew’s magnolia. The towering tree, with sweeping lower limbs that threw a graceful archway across the front walk, became a go-to community recourse for both greenery and it’s stunningly beautiful blooms (sometimes with permission, sometimes not).

One Saturday afternoon two tuxedo-clad young men knocked on the door. “The florist bailed on the wedding,” they said. “Can we cut a few blooms for the church?” 30-minutes later we’d loaded my pickup truck with enough of the fragrant flowers and lush greenery to more than save the day.

IMG_6488Rebekah almost always uses magnolia for the front door, sometimes spray-painting a number of the leaves gold and silver. It speaks clearly of eternity (the circle), the constant of spiritual life (fresh leaves even in the winter), and the simple beauty of the message of the Gospel of Love.

We always put the wreath up first because it’s like an announcement, a proclamation:

“Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.” – Mark 1:3




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