Last weekend I get up early in the morning before the sun has crested on the horizon behind the trees. I turn the heater on in the sunroom and then the lights on our Christmas tree. I grab a soft blanket to cover my legs and settle in for some time of peace and quiet before the family is up and the day starts moving. Looking out the window is still several inches of snow that covered just about everything that had fallen a couple of days earlier. Ahhh…
The day it snowed the rarely nine inches, I had to put on my pink boots and take some pictures and share them with others on Facebook, especially so family could see how much we got. One of the pictures I posted was one of the Christmas wreaths that are still on our windows. It’s January 9 and the house still looks like Christmas season. I asked in my post, “Who else still has their lights and decorations up from Christmas?” I received several fun comments of others who haven’t either and some who wish they hadn’t yet.
One friend in the state of Washington made a comment saying hers was still up too and is thinking of keeping it up and change the decorations for each season. Then another friend replied saying she actually did that while her husband was deployed because it helped “pass time” as they counted down holidays until Memorial Day weekend when he came home.
I then wrote “I bet that was special and helpful!. This is the first year we got a real tree in quite a while so I don’t think our tree will last much longer! But I love what you did! If we had used our artificial, then I seriously would think of doing that.” For some reason this year I just don’t want to take it down… which is kind of ironic because at the beginning of December, I didn’t really want to put it up at all and because of this conversation, I just now realized that change – and that mades me smile.
That was a little gift from friends and the Lord – I didn’t realize until just then that I didn’t want Christmas to end – yet at the beginning of the season (and even some up until the day and after) I wanted nothing to do with it. It’s become so commercial to me drowing out the messy, real reason Christmas is celebrated. I was grieving for my dad (the first Christmas without him), and for my dear friends (who are married) both lost their fathers a few days before and a few days after Christmas. I was honestly frustrated with God because well, 2016 stunk.
Then why did I want to leave the Christmas tree up? It wasn’t because I was too lazy. It wasn’t necessarily because hardly any needles had fallen off the tree yet. The rich, Christmas tree aroma had something to do with it, but some deep joy was rebirthing because it had felt like dry bones lately. Am I wanting to do something out of the ordinary – like leaving a tree in our house year round? I want to hold on as long as possible to the gift of the Good News and hope that came to this earth 2000 years ago.
Maybe it’s still up because I don’t want to put the gifts in a closet – the kind of gifts not wrapped in a box. Instead, the gift of hope and the gift of Scripture coming back to life. I’ve begun to prepare for the women’s online Bible study I facilitate and we’ll be studying 2 Corinthians with the help of a resource called “All Things New” by Kelly Minter. That study caught my eye because I think I’m ready for “all things new” in 2017. Are you?
All these new things are from God who brought us back to himself through what Christ Jesus did. And God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to come into his favor and be reconciled to him. (2 Corinthians 5:18)
For you, I hope that 2017 will be a year of wonders, joy, and that God will be seen through you in your own, unique way. Take advantage of the privilege we’re given!