I am sitting here on the night of December 26th still listening to Christmas music; not yet ready to let go, clinging to the light of the season. I love this time of year and the thought of moving on stings my heart a bit. My next door neighbor's tree is already stripped bare and laying on the curb ready for the recycler to pick it up and take it away, grinding its one-time splendor into mulch and shavings for pulp. A cruel and unfortunate life cycle if you think about it.
Our tree is still up, dry, crackly and dead, but the lights still shine and twinkle adding a bit of magic to the dark winter night just outside the window where it stands. It is ready to go, overdue really, I know. But I am just not prepared to move past the feelings of this special time; I never am. Every year in the aftermath, I have to force myself to put the house back to normal - to the pre-extra joy, pre-extra fun holiday style of Christmas. Off with the sequined party dress and on with the plain jeans and tee shirt style of our home. Back to life's typical days with nothing much exciting going on or a lot to look forward to and that is the hardest part for me, I like life better when it is popping and sparkling. Meh.
I know I must move into and through the ho-hum drum beat of the days ahead somehow. Knowing that the world as a whole is still hovering between fear and uncertainty; the past month was a nice distraction from reality, if I am being honest. Having gifts to buy, special cookies to bake, and houses lit up in festive outfits and dressings to brighten up the drab brought out a lightness in our spirits that we all need so badly. And now, these things are going to get taken off the calendar and taken down, boxed up, and put up in the rafters for a year. A whole, long year. Light's out.
Sulking and feeling depleted, I pause and remember where to look for joy. I know where I can, without fail, seek and find something to celebrate and a reason to sing. I open Hope's Book to Psalm 16:
"You teach me the way of life.
In your presence is total celebration.
Beautiful things are always in your right hand." (Psalm 16:11 CEB)
Ahh, yes. There it is. When I stay with Christ, I always have Christmas. The lights never dim and the special occasion never ends. When I am with Him, beauty and abundant life is always present and available and poured out. This is rejuvenating drink to my parched soul. Even though the seasonal decorations will be soon put out of easy reach, His love and companionship never is. It beats constant each moment of the year, not just during a couple of appointed months. This is just the reassuring and soothing balm I needed to apply. What about you? Does this bring relief and assurance to you also? I hope so.
Tomorrow I will pull the storage boxes up from the basement and fill them up with their usual tenants of ornaments, nutcrackers, garlands and the precious, adored Nativity set. They will go back up on the shelves until late November peeks out from the calendar once again. But, thankfully, my place here on the celebratory plane does not need to change, be removed and boxed up. I can stay here and know that each day can be a reason to celebrate because of Christ. He never leaves me, or you. In this, we can live our upcoming remaining Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall months out in joy - it is not a day on the calendar but a way of daily life!
Goodbye Christmas. I will certainly miss you and what you bring into the world but I will not forget or stray from the One you represent. I will keep walking with Him and enjoying the beautiful gift of the blessings-filled life He offers each and every day. I will let you go for now, but not let go of His hand and that turns tomorrow and each day after from mediocre to miraculous!
Question: What about this season is hardest for you to let go of? Will you hold onto Christ's hand going forward, learning the way of life He offers?