While the commercial world anticipates Christmas, beginning as early as September, with the ever-increasing displays and advertisements for Christmas gifts…I like to decorate just before Christmas, celebrate through the Christmas season, and be one of the last ones to take down our decorations. I find myself becoming a little sad when we pack up the lights, the garland, the nutcrackers, and the nativity set. The artificial tree gets tucked back into the attic and covered up for another 11 months.
During this process, I acknowledge that there is a little bit of grief that creeps in, even while I fondly remember the anticipation of holiday parties and family time around the tree. The food and the conversation around the table. The laughter. The marathon Christmas Eve services, and the joy of seeing sanctuaries filled with candlelight. And I know for some who have lost loved ones in the last year, Christmas brings some sadness as they experience, for the first time, Christmas without someone around the tree or at the dinner table.
I also realize that during this “undecorating, cleaning, and decluttering” time, I am relenting to the approaching inevitability of Winter. I’ll miss, for a few months, the spontaneous cul-de-sac conversations with neighbors, the smell of freshly cut grass, and the joy of working outside.
And yet, even as I write this, I realize that seasons change every year, that there will come a day…
…when the flowers will bloom again
…when the neighbors will spontaneously gather in the cul-de-sac, share a cold beverage, and solve all the problems of the world—all during a 20-minute break from trimming hedges
…when the anticipation and joy of Christmas will, once again, light up our homes, our sanctuaries, and our hearts
…when we will be reunited in heaven with the loved ones we are grieving on earth
…when Jesus will come again, bringing love, hope, and ultimate healing for all creation
Just because the Christmas lights are tucked away, doesn’t mean things are dark.Jesus has come!The light of Christ has been plugged in, turned on, and is shining for all the world to see.Let’s bask in the light.This is a time of celebration!This is a time for joy—even in the midst of sadness!
Let our hearts carry the joy of Christmas and the light of Epiphany for all the world to see.For, there will come a day…
Basking in the light,