I love celebrating Christmas. Any story with a baby always captures my attention, but a baby, conceived supernaturally, born to save the world? Just hearing the first few words from Luke, chapter two stirs my soul. "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register" (NIV). I know what's coming--Who's coming! God's only Son, heavenly hosts, lowly shepherds, a young mother wrapping her newborn in swaddling clothes and laying Him in a manger, peace, goodwill toward men. I love the story. It is the beginning of my salvation.
That said, I don't love all the work that goes into Christmas, either to make the holiday happen or to put it away. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the decorations and music, the red and the green. But I dislike putting up the tree and the lights and taking them down again just a few short weeks later. It's like a writer saying they don't like writing, but they love to "have written." The same is true for me at Christmas. I love the result, but not the work it takes to get there.
This year I was blessed to have my two oldest grandsons, ages twelve and ten, come help put up the outside lights with Grandpa and then return to take them and the Christmas tree down. It was a gift they didn't even know they'd given. I was elated not to have to deal with that tree. Sure, there were other parts of the house I had to un-decorate, but at least that big part was done. It made the rest seem so much more manageable.
But guess what? The boxes of decorations, lights, and wreaths that we took down are still sitting in my entryway waiting to be stashed into the closet for another year. They've been there for four days now. I hate looking at them. But do I move them? No. Why? Because I hate putting Christmas away! I'm ready to be done with it and move on into the New Year, operating on a routine schedule, but those boxes are still sitting. And so am I.
So, today I am making myself a promise. Those boxes of decorations will be out of my entryway by tomorrow. After all, putting away Christmas in no way means I'm putting away Jesus. He'll still be the radiant centerpiece of my life, burning brighter than any Christmas candle. But I'll feel more organized and ready to tackle the New Year with those boxes securely packed away. My heart will be able to sing, "Oh come let us adore Him" with fresh fervor when my house is less chaotic.
Sing with me, "Joy to the world, the boxes are gone!"
Anyone else feel like this? Or are you one who would love to keep Christmas up all year long? Chime in in the comments.