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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

Simple Beauty
Date Posted: December 11, 2004

My kids love to look at Christmas lights. My three-year-old gets excited every time we come down the hill and see the neighbor's house with blue lights lining the roof and candy canes in the yard. The "blue house" is his favorite!

We've see some spectacular displays over the years. From parks with every fairy tale and cartoon you can think of cut out in cardboard, painted and lighted with a rainbow of colors, to the living, working village of Bethlehem, complete with armed Roman soldiers who arrested and jailed unsuspecting members of the group. (Including a few junior high boys ... hmm.)

But recently I saw a display which made just as big an impact as all those fancy light shows and realistic portrayals.

As we were driving along a rural highway late last weekend we passed an old farm. It had a cozy-looking, two-story farm house and a sturdy old barn, along with some smaller outbuildings. This was not a pretentious place -- just very stereotypical.

On the side of this barn, which had probably stood guard along the road for a century, was a cross laid out in white lights. It reached from the peak of the hayloft to the ground.

There were no other Christmas lights or visible holiday decorations on the entire place. Nothing twinkled or flashed colors. Santa and his reindeer weren't about to go airborne off the rooftop. There wasn't even a "Merry Christmas" sign or a Christmas tree to be seen through the window.

The simplicity of this "holiday display" shook me. What a witness to the reason for the season!

Just a simple cross -- but it's so much more to those of us who know the story of a tiny baby, grown to be a man, who went willingly to a much rougher, uglier cross and bled for someone like me who can't even make it through the day, much less the season, without complaining how far behind I am, and how I still have so much decorating and shopping to do!

This week I hope you will join me in focusing on the simple beauty of the cross, the star, the stable -- any one aspect of the Christ story which brings you peace and puts you in a frame of mind to spread the true spirit of Christmas.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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