There once sat a house just two lots down from the corner of Walnut Street and Jefferson Avenue. For two decades it sat pleasantly painted and loved, its rooms and hallways filled with the joy and laughter of the family that cared for it. It sat happily as it protected its family from the rain of the spring, the heat of the summer, the falling leaves in the autumn, and the harsh cold of the winter.
Its favorite time, though, was definitely December, when its family would adorn its trimmings with lights and garland and its interior smelled of delicious food and cinnamon. They would host parties with their most cherished loved ones in their home and love and excitement would warm the house’s rooms and fill its spirit. It was a time when beauty was at its peak, as the opinions of houses go.
Year after year the house was blessed to shelter a family that loved it so. And year after year the house longed for December when it would be dressed in its finest alongside its neighbors to be shown to the loved ones of the family that called it home. With each passing year as the house’s decorations grew and grew, so too did its splendor and pride.
On the house’s 21st birthday, though, things began to change. The children of its owner didn’t home that December, and in the coming years the decorations that adorned it lessened and lessened until they were no more. Its owners had grown old and typically went out on Christmas. They didn’t spend the time to decorate their own home and were now sharing their special memories in another one; their children’s home. The once-cheery time of year with lights and cinnamon fragrances was now replaced by cold hallways and stale scents.
All the while the house watched its neighbors get dressed up the same as they had every other year. They got new owners frequently, and new owners brought new paint, and more importantly new lights and families for Christmas.
One day a great commotion disturbed the house greatly. A vehicle with flashing lights screeched to a halt in the road before the house’s driveway. Three men in blue suits rushed into its front door then quickly back out with the man that lived inside of it lying on a flat bed that the men carried. The lady that lived in it joined them in the vehicle and in a moment they were gone.
A few days passed before the lady returned alone, sobbing, and dressed in black. The house didn’t know what had happened or where the man was, but its heart was broken with its owner. The children came around more often then, but Decembers were still as colorless and sorrowful as they had been for the few years prior. Before the next December came, the house was empty; no longer a home. A For Sale sign went up in its front yard.
Years passed, and the lonely house’s neighbors lit up every December, while it sat quietly. With each person that came through with the man in a suit that showed the house to them, the house hoped that this one would be the one to make it a home once more. Every time one left, its hope grew dimmer. Its shudders started to sag, its paint started to flake, and its boards began to moan as the opportunity to become a home again began to fade away. And December, the most glorious month for a house, was beginning to be its least favorite time of the year.
When all seemed lost, and the house began to think it would never again be a home, its halls would never again be filled with the laughter of children, and it would never see another December with lights and wreaths and loved ones at parties, the man in a suit pulled the For Sale sign from the yard. This is it, the house thought. The man has given up. I will never have another family.
But the next day, a van pulled up with a moving truck in tow. A young man and woman stepped out, a baby in their arms. Could this be it? Will I finally be a home? When they took their pictures on its porch, the house knew it to be so.
The spring and the summer that year were filled with moving and settling. Pains filled the fall as the couple fixed and updated and painted. The house didn’t mind; it was necessary, it knew, for the family to get adjusted.
It’s not proper for a house to cry, but if it could, a tear would have been shed the day the man strung the first set of lights on its gutters. One string was hung, then another, then another until finally he stood back and smiled at his home. The decorations were more modest than the latter years of its previous owners’ lives, but the house didn’t mind. It was not spending another December stale, colorless, and alone.
When Christmas came near, the familiar sounds of merriment and smells of cinnamon filled its rooms. Parties were hosted, and loved ones exchanged gifts once more. The spirits of the house returned once more.
The house was once again, a home.
Merry Christmas, and may the joy of Christ fill your holidays.