During Tough Christmases…Find One Decoration that Speaks to You

Dear Reader:

This just might be the Christmas when we recognize that there is such a thing as “defiant decorations”…sounds really strange doesn’t it…but Quinn Caldwell explains it through his own personal experiences. Many of us will be able to relate.

In the Bible it is Joseph who is thinking that the future looks pretty bleak to him. His engagement is shattered by the news that Mary is pregnant (supposedly) by the Holy Spirit. Now that would be a tough pill to swallow for anyone but especially back in these times…unacceptable by society’s dictates.

What to do? Privately he decides the only course of action left is to call off the engagement quietly to avoid further humiliation to his betrothed and himself. He breathes a large sigh of relief…confident he has chosen the best route to follow, really the only, option left. Exhausted…he falls asleep.

But Joseph had underestimated God’s “Power of Persuasion.” That night an angel appears to him in a dream and announces…

Joseph, Son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

The next morning his feelings are again turned upside down…he believes the dream…but will anyone else?

In the end it would come down to two choices Joseph had to make…keep talking about his dream or become a man of action… an “Onward Christian Soldier.

Even though there wasn’t an official Christmas (of course) at that time…it is the impetus for it and Joseph “is on track to have the worst Christmas yet.”

Most of us have not been spared a “bad” Christmas…either we have been sick, or a parent, child, or sibling is, or worse… a loved one dies around Christmas. These “Christmases” are quite memorable… but for the wrong reason and still terribly painful… never-the-less.

Quinn Caldwell discovered something new the year his father was dying over Christmas and passed away a couple of days later. He found solace doing something he had never considered before. Trimming the Christmas tree.

At that moment the Christmas tree was the “only beautiful thing in the middle of a wasteland.” That year, Caldwell admitted, every little glass ball he put on the tree felt like an act of defiance.

As he hung each ornament he felt like shouting “Take that misery” “Eat it addiction!”Bite me cancer!” “Die…Death!”

Now while going through these really “bad” Christmases…we need to  understand that the first Christmas started just that way.

” It was born in defiance of all that stalks the world and tries to snuff its light.”

Caldwell suggests….“Today decorate something whether you feel like it or not. Let every candy cane be a raging firework against the dying of the light. Let every battered old ornament be the star that changes everything.

And if you can’t manage to decorate your whole house this year, if all you can manage is one decoration hanging on a house plant, let it be the best one you have. And tell despair it better watch its back.”

As much as I love my Christmas tree and certainly that is my dependable decoration “pick” to fight depression….it is actually the little iron-wrought candle holder on the front porch… inter-twined with ivy and a bright light …that would be my choice of one decoration this year.



The beautiful candle light symbolically snuffs out the darkness on the front porch each evening and brings me much comfort watching its flickering, simple beauty. (title photo)

So until tomorrow...”Oh God, some Christmases I just can’t even…but I know You can. Come God come…and bring Your Light back into my world.” Amen.

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

We had quite a brisk colder night Friday than I thought was predicted… I was afraid “Big Red” might be hurt…but “Big Red” welcomed me with a big smile yesterday morning and another bloom opening…with four more just about to get there. Think we are good until Christmas night before we see (or feel) another hard freeze and by then “Big Red” will have strutted his new red blooms for Christmas Day! He can retire inside.

A thick frost lay on the ground Saturday morning…my neighbor Vickie’s house and the empty lot next door was Beautiful!

Besides a special symbolic decoration, Gin-g’s family could use some prayers…her older sister, Suzy, was told a couple of days ago that the mystery behind months and months of diagnostic tests concluded she has pancreatic cancer.

Suzy has been through so much already…the family could really use the power of prayer right now to guide all of them through this new frontier of treatments she is about to undergo.

Thank you in advance for all your on-going prayers…you blog readers are the best…hands- down and none of us should ever underestimate its power…especially in numbers. Thank you!


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to During Tough Christmases…Find One Decoration that Speaks to You

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Thank you so much Becky…for the things you dropped off yesterday and for getting Suzy’s address. I told her this morning that you asked if you could put this news in your blog and she was so touched. She truly walks with God and just hopes that “she will do this ok”. As her husband Clyde said “God was not surprised and He has a plan.”

    Your blog was spot on…I decorate our house every year but I stopped putting up a tree several yrs ago because for 45 years we have always gone home to NC for Christmas…anthe d the other holidays. But my daughter in law was upset last weekend when we were with Blake and her that we didn’t have a tree up…so we dragged it out of the attic…pulled out really old ornaments and bought new lights…now that our grands and other son’s family is quarantined because of being exposed to Covid and the risks with Suzy we will be staying home…so the tree and the new bright white lights are my choice this Christmas…think if the children’s song…”this little light of mine I’m going to let it shine”…and Suzy’s faith is already shining…every time I talk with her we share a laugh with our tears…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Your family is so close…but about to get closer….I don’t know what I would have done without the support of friends and family because it was laughter that got me through some tough spots….and I know you two will start remembering funny childhood episodes and laugh together…best medicine anyone can give Suzy. Enjoy that tree and find a blinking light ornament that will keep reminding you of all the life yet to come….God Winks galore!!!


  2. Beverly Dufford says:

    Gin g, I am so sorry about your sister. You, she and all of her family will be in my prayers. Becky, thank you for letting us know. Your message today could not have been more appropriate or needed. God speaks to us in so many different ways, and today, He is reminding us of that first Christmas through your words. Thanks! I, with the help of my children, put my Christmas up right after Halloween. I have burned my lights every day and found myself uplifted by the joy they bring. May you have a blessed Christmas.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      May this Christmas, Jo…light up your life like no other….just being with loved ones are the best transmitters in the world…family plugs in the light of love like no other outlet! Merry Christmas Jo!


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