Grinch Green or Sugar Plum Fairy Pink?

About ten, maybe twelve years ago I went through a Christmas nostalgia phase that coincided with a flurry of merchandise designed to appeal to those of us who spent our childhood in the 1960s. With no thought of budgetary restrictions I bought piles of textiles whose predominant colors were bright red and Grinch green. By New Year’s Day that year I was ready to donate all those tablecloths, napkins, and tea towels to a local landfill.

Something about the combination of colors didn’t appeal to me after that first blush of loving association with a kinder, gentler era. I didn’t dump the unpleasant kitchen accoutrements but did frown at them often and only put them on display when no company was expected.

Not long ago my college roommate met me in downtown Chicago and we enjoyed high tea at a lovely hotel. They have pink-predominant trees in the lobby and tea room. See?

It is quite lovely and festive and tasteful. But I’m uncertain if I’m ready to associate pink with Christmas. However. I don’t fancy only the traditional Santa Suit reds and Christmas-tree greens all the time either.

Pastels aren’t my first love. Or second. Washed out colors seem depressing. Monochrome makes an impact but can eventually become …repetitive. Maybe I enjoy richer colors. Deep blues and reds and golds and greens.

The only constant is light. Lots of Christmas lights. White, golden-glow, colored. They light the long hours of darkness in the northern hemisphere. They remind us of the Light of the World. They make electric companies everywhere rub their hands in glee. Yes, lights are my requirement.

Anyone have any favorite Christmas color combos? Anything unusual, new, unexpected? What makes you happy? (And I’m curious if anyone loves browns and/or grays for their Christmas decorations?)

Christmas and the Crack in the Cosmos


When Adam and Eve threw God-given sense to the winds and dug their teeth into a death-lnfused piece of fruit, they didn’t drop dead. They. Didn’t. Drop. Dead.

What they didn’t know, what they couldn’t see, was the enormous, universe-long crack in the cosmos between creature and Creator.

As long as one doesn’t drop dead, one can adjust to almost anything. Adam and Eve dug weeds and watched the sky for rain, hoping it would start or stop. They hugged and kissed and etceterad, and had babies. Life, even painful, drudging life, was the new normal.

When one of their beloved babies grew up to kill the other of their beloved babies, they might have felt they were falling into the crack, or at least that their hearts were splitting. Somehow though, they didn’t drop dead. Life continued, more babies came. They were too busy to notice the small crack splintering off the giant, uncrossable crevice between God and humanity.

Since that initial brutality we’ve continued to whack away at the crack.

The first time a man slept with someone other than his wife another fissure appeared. But the cheating husband didn’t drop dead. Neither did the mistress, so couples and families continued to split and divide and society tries to sidestep the consequences.

We are fast learners. We only needed to see once that lightning didn’t strike the first woman who chose to abort her baby for the sake of convenience, the first father who chose to use his child as a punching bag, the first youth who chose to mock the ‘otherness’ of another. Instead of running from the chinks opening up at their feet, we snatched at their sins and expanded them.

Eons of jolting drunkenly from crater to rupture to fracture have convinced us that we are actually walking an even keel. If everyone else is lurching along at the same list, who notices one’s own totters and teeters? Especially if, after swearing or slapping or stealing or selfishness or lusting, nothing seems to change. We haven’t dropped dead.

Meanwhile, the cracks widen. Under our feet, every so often we hear an ominous crunch, a warning rumble. Wars and rumors of wars, genocide and infanticide and suicide bombers and school shooters and mall shooters and kidnappers and garbage islands floating in the ocean and families who tear themselves into pieces and pastors who peruse porn sites.

It’s too late. It’s been too late ever since a lousy piece of fruit and self-aggrandizement trumped walking and talking with the Lord and Master of the Universe. The crack that divided us and Him has been widening and we are just one  chink away from crumbling into nothingness.

The mess is our fault, folks, and there is no way to undo it. What a hopeless, clueless crashing bunch we are, bumping along on the brink of disaster, and no law or power or boots on the ground or presidential candidate will be able to hold us together.

A disintegrating world and cracked cosmos. Why doesn’t God just discard it all? Certainly that can’t be worse than watching us destroy ourselves. For some reason our fickle, damaged hearts can’t understand, He chose to insert His beloved Son into the splinters, via the fragility of a womb into the roughness of a manger.

‘In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.’*

When the fullness of God lives with the self-destructive rebellious people of earth, the shifting chunks of brokenness respond in amazing ways. Water becomes a walkway. ‘Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;’**

Instead of sending us headlong into the chasms yawning at our feet, He uses them to loose the mountains who skip like lambs before Him and burst into song. The trees and rivers are freed to clap their hands. A star, released from position, guides the powerful and the meek to a feedbin filled with a baby.

Only a few decades after that, our own particular star stopped shining. A tree was torn from the unstable ground and its clapping silenced when the Creator was nailed to it. The earth trembled and split when He died. At the darkest time, when the mountains should have fallen on us and the earth ruptured into a million pieces, the healing began.

When God the sin-hating Father joined hands with God the flesh-clad Son, the breach in the cosmos narrowed and compressed and fused together. Reconciliation, glorious and grace-filled is ours in spite of ourselves.

The universe is still crumbling and humans still sift through each clump of solid ground searching for more goodness to pulverize. What we don’t know is that the ultimate power to destroy our world lies with the One who made it, and He is the One who will make it over. When He does, He guarantees it will be crack-proof.

Merry Christmas, indeed.

*Colossians 1:19 & 20
**Luke 3:5