In the quiet of my car I drive down quiet, glowing streets. Christmas light-looking. I haven’t done this since I was a little kid. Winding streets are bordered by white icicle-laced homes and trees ribboned with red and blue bulbs.
I slow to a stop in front of a white Colonial-style house. Tall and regal, it is unadorned except for the golden glow of a candle in each of the eight pane-glass windows. My throat closes off unexpectedly; my eyes–suddenly hot and wet. Something deep in my heart thrusts deeper. Roots?
I realize this is my first Christmas with a discovered heart. Nothing leaves it untouched, Christmas light-looking included. I can feel the roots inching their spindly fingers deeper into the soil as they drink, as I stare at the simple elegance of the house.
It is the idyllic setting of a Christmas home. It is straight out of a picture book of my childhood, Peter Spier’s Christmas!.
It is Dad pointing out the illustrations to five or six tousle-headed children in footie pajamas.
It is belonging.
It is home.
Oh, Father, I want to see beauty in everything…
I notice the sky: black all around except for the horizon where the moon casts a whitish glow through the growing fog. It reminds me of a scripture quoted in a Christmas movie I just watched with friends: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. The movie was a cheesy, ABC chic flick that I mustered behind because it was sentimental and nostalgic. It was predictable, whimsical, and the cause of much mocking, especially when the writer threw in John 1:5 (at the moment the two lovers finish decorating the house with Christmas lights).
Yet I loved it. It was another moment my eyes sparked with tears, because the script writer could hardly know the truth of that verse, yet captured precisely why we blanket our homes with white lights.
A friend once told me that a critic sees value in very little. I want to see the value in everything. In that ridiculous movie I saw beauty and feeling, romance and magic. I saw a longing for tradition and legacy, and a hope for the future.
I saw a longing to belong to someone and a longing for home.
I loved it because, in this discovered heart, I have found all of these longings satisfied in the heart of my Father, where the longings originate. When I discovered the heart of God, I found he isn’t a critic.
That’s why I want to see the value in everything. I want to go on a quest for beauty. I want to see and experience everything as if for the first or last time. I want whatever is in my Father’s heart.
As I drive home, I realize why that house brought me to tears. This is the first Christmas that his heart is truly my home, and he has candles in the windows.