One year, I didn’t finish putting Christmas away until January 16. That was twenty-two days after ripped wrapping paper and boxes and tissue paper melded together to form a giant dog-eating blob in the living room. Ten days after the Wise Men came to church disguised as eight-year-olds. Five days after I stuffed our plastic Christmas tree back into the attic, accidentally forgetting to notice that my husband’s gift to me of red and green striped socks had fallen into the tree box, if you know what I mean.
I finally got out the ladder and then got sap on my fingers as I untangled the lights from the evergreen tree out front. I also pulled the string of lights off the side of the house that I had — just a few weeks before — shaped into a giant star. The giant star remained, however, as a blotch on my decorating career because the tape which I had used to keep the lights clinging to the red aluminum siding now left ugly white marks.
I stepped back a distance (fortunately after first getting down from the ladder) to see if the tape marks were visible from another viewpoint. They were. I knew then that every person who drove down the street or stopped by for a visit would surely “tch, tch, tch” me because I had used tape on aluminum siding. Maybe I should have left the star up all year.
Advent and the Christmas season always arrive with much excitement. Suddenly it’s lights and garland, plastic “wooden” nutcracker soldiers, giant Nativity sets and ornament-laden trees. Houses get lit up like Disney World, and executives at the electric company get lit up by the prospect of sending us humongous electric bills.
Then it’s over. Quietly, the decorations come down. Christmas disappears.
One month earlier, the kids had helped me prepare for Christmas by removing ornaments from the tree because they make great accessories to toy cities. Now the children eagerly plunged into homework as I tried to squeeze all 142 ornaments into two shoeboxes.
These are the same kids whose eyes glowed with glee when they came home from school to find a star of lights on the side of the house. Now they failed to notice that their mother had spent all afternoon taking down the star.
Maybe this is because, for children, the star is never really gone. Maybe children think that the ritual of undecorating is an absurd tradition because the spirit of Christmas still lingers. After all, Christmas is not about ornaments and garland and lights. Christmas is about love and peace and The Light. Jesus is with us every day all year.
Maybe this time I’ll leave the Christmas lights up all year as a reminder that the Light of Christ should never be put away into the attic.
Reflection questions for family discussion:
What is your favorite Christmas decoration this year? Why? What does it tell us about Jesus?
Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to Earth as one of us so that You could show us the way to Heaven. Help us to share Your love and Your light with all those around us and with those we connect with on the Internet.
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© 2017 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries