“Why can’t we have nice things?!”
A few years ago we had a one year old Irish Wolfhound weighing in at 120 lbs, and a 12 week old wiener dog weighing in at three lbs. They were best friends and quite a pair. There is something so fun about having puppies at Christmastime – in theory.  It’s more like in commercials and movies it looks fun to have a puppy at Christmas, that is until they discover the pretty things.
The phrase “my dog ate my —— (fill in the blank)” has come out of my mouth more than I can count. Most recently my dog ate my brand new computer’s cord. The little one, Pippin, likes to chew through things. The big one, Samson, would just swallow them whole. We would find whole socks, underwear, partial shoes, and pieces of all manner of things in the piles of you know what in the backyard. It was a good thing they were cute!  
We were excited to deck the halls and complete the romantic picture of Christmas in our home. Lights, trees, boughs of holly, and puppies – what could be sweeter?!
I wasn’t sure how they would react to the new additions. It began with the nose, of course. Even though it was a fake tree, it sure smelled good to them! We hadn’t put the ornaments on it yet, but there was great satisfaction in getting it up and lit – so much so that we decided to put off the adornment for another day. It was just so pretty the way it was.
The next morning, it was less pretty. As I came downstairs, I noticed the branches were hanging in strange formation, with fake pine needles EVERYWHERE. Yup, they did it. The two of them went to town and ate the Christmas tree. The strings of lights were chewed through, the branches were stripped and wonky. Our poor tree lost the battle of the beasts.
It was so discouraging. I cleaned up the fake pine needles. I unplugged the ragged end of the string of lights. And then you know what we did? Left it up – mangled limbs and all. I didn’t have the heart to fix it. We just sort of cleaned up around it and left it the way it was. The truth is we didn’t need it to be anything other than it was.
That’s the thing about Christmas – it’s not about the polish or the perfection. It’s about welcoming Jesus into our world, right where we are. The one who came to save us, even though we didn’t deserve it, didn’t wait until it was pretty.
Our home didn’t look good, but neither did the stable and feeding trough. But it didn’t disqualify the love that was brought to us. We had Christmas. We had love. We have Jesus, and that’s all we need.
But with all that said, I’m hoping this year is different and our tree lasts more than one night!