12 Pearls of Christmas Day 4 ~ with Elizabeth Goldsmith Musser

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved writer's
(Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and
more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt
stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

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Why I Decorate for Christmas

By Elizabeth Goldsmith Musser

An old cassette tape of Christmas carols—received in a package twenty years ago when
we had first arrived in France as missionaries—fills our den with delightful piano music
as I place one more ornament on the already over-laden Christmas tree.  This one
is a little white wooden rabbit with pink ears that move back and forth.  It actually
doesn’t look much like a Christmas ornament, but I bought it for our baby Andrew when
my husband Paul was in seminary, and I was working for less than minimum wage in the
library.  This ornament was literally all I could afford.

As I hang it on the tree today, I get goose bumps and then a rush of warmth.  And
that’s why I decorate for Christmas.  Not to impress but to remember.  I
remember those lean, lean years, and God’s faithful provision for us.

There are the cross-stitched ornaments I made our first year in Montpellier—for the boys
(for by now we had two sons) and Paul and me.  How I ever had time to do that,
I don’t know.  I remember our puny little tree—the kind they sold in France back
then—in a pot so that it could be replanted later.  We perched that tiny tree on a
small table out of baby Christopher’s reach.  I guess I watered it too much, because
about halfway through December, it started smelling and then stinking, and it rotted there

on Christmas Day!

I smile with these memories.

I look at the other ornaments on the tree.  Many were purchased—one for each
boy—when we attended conferences around Europe, and that makes me smile too.
 Getting to travel on a missionary’s budget to exotic places!  There are
the waxed red bear and red baby carriage from Wales, the brightly painted clay sun
and moon from Portugal, the blue and white porcelain windmill and wooden shoes
from Holland, the hand-blown glass Snoopys sitting on gondolas from Venice, and the
delicately decorated eggs from Prague.

Other ornaments include the little pinkish shiny ball ornament with Paul’s name written
in glitter—I think he made it when he was about six , and the little red velvet bows,
bought at Michael’s after Christmas one year for a dollar.  They bring a unifying
theme to the tree.  I say this, smiling, because our tree is, and has always been
throughout the years, a hodge-podge of our life.  And I like it that way.  I
don’t think I could ever have a ‘theme’ tree.  Mine is a ‘memory’ tree.

The music plays softly in the background and I smile through tears, remembering God’s
incredible faithfulness to call and keep us here in France for so many years.  Heart-
breakingly hard years, overwhelmingly joyful years—the same years, the same amazing
God, our keeper.

Before we left for the mission field, I memorized Psalm 121 in English and in French,
and over the years I have held on tight to those last beautiful words of the psalm:
 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and
forever. (NASB)

Of course He will.  He is God with us.

We decorate to remember Christmases past, our lives, our legacy, and mostly, for those
of us who have embraced Christ, we decorate to honor and praise Him for coming to
us—Emmanuel!  We make our homes ready to receive the Christ Child, with soft
music and candles burning and the sweet flickering of angel wings on an over-laden

, an Atlanta native and the bestselling author of The Swan
House, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’  For
over twenty years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions work
with International Teams.  They presently live near Lyon, France. The Mussers
have two sons and a daughter-in-law. The Sweetest Thing (Bethany House, 2011) is
Elizabeth’s eighth novel. To learn more about Elizabeth and her books, and to

find discussion questions as well as photos of sites mentioned in the stories, please visit
www.elizabethmusser.com and her Facebook Fan Page

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