As with any big event, Christmas comes with so much preparation, ramping up and expectation. Not unlike a wedding day, a big birthday, or a move off to college, the days to follow arrive quickly, as though someone has pulled the celebratory rug out from under us and left us on the bare floor, wondering how on earth it all came and went so fast. At least, that’s how I’ve felt a time or two or twenty.
Today, things are quiet in our house. Jason is away until dinner time, and Henry and Eloise mostly just want to play with their favorite new things. It’s been gray here, and colder, with a drizzly rain that halted any plans of a walk before nap time. The house is resting, and I would be, too, but I’m thinking about yesterday and what comes between now and New Year’s, and how I want to prepare myself to head into 2016 with a hopeful perspective for whatever will take shape when I swap out the calendar.
I don’t mind the idea of a fresh start, especially at the tail end of a bang-up year. There has been a lot of good to go along with the bad, but there’s plenty I’m content to put behind us, too. I’ll be there and ready in a little shy of a week when the clock strikes midnight. I’m just not there quite yet.
The tree is still up (and will be a while longer) and the lights are still warming up the room as I type. New Christmas gifts arrived from Gramma today, and I’m thankful for how they’ll draw out the magic of Christmas just a little bit longer under all of the ornaments, not quite ready to be put back in their boxes for next eleven months.
I know some are so eager to “pack up Christmas” and put it away. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but I do like it to linger. I like that, for a few days at least, the whole world around me seems to carry with it an awareness–a sensitivity to being softer, kinder, more generous, more present with one another and the needs of friends and strangers, alike.
It’s as though Christmas shines a light on the fact that we’re all human, and we seem to remember this better while we all unite in an effort to usher in Christmas, however different our individual celebrations may be.
I’m not ready to let go of Christmas just yet. When something changes you for good, you don’t want it to end.
When Jesus was born, Christmas was only just beginning as the wisemen traveled from afar to bring gifts to the baby King. They didn’t arrive in just a few hours, but journeyed long days to meet their Savior and to offer of themselves, in person, to Him.
Celebrating a graceful December this year is challenging me to seek out ways to carry out Christmas, right into the New Year. With the twelve days of Christmas in full swing and Epiphany not until January 6th, I figure I have the perfect reason not to let it all go just yet (as if anyone needed justification for more of Christmas :)!
Let’s not let sale shopping and gift exchanging, end of year busyness and “putting away” our holiday decor get in the way of continuing to extend ourselves to friends, family and strangers. Then, the light that has poured so freely into our lives this past week will shine brightly over the normal days on our calendars, too.
How can I extend Christmas and light to those in my sphere of influence these next few days? How can you?
Embracing the good,