Sunday, January 6, 2013

Packing Up Christmas

The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.  – Isaiah 40:8 (NLT)
I kept up with Christmas this year— decorated the house the week after Thanksgiving; sent out the cards at the beginning of December; purchased, wrapped and shipped gifts without any last-minute hassle—and enjoyed the unfolding of the season without the stress. Yep. I done good.
Usually I keep the decorations up until mid-January, but this year I surprised myself and spent the first two days after New Year’s Day taking them down and getting my house back to normal and my brain back to work mode. Christmas decorations, I’ve found, keep me in a holiday mood, wanting to celebrate and have fun, not work.
But I also feel sad when Christmas is packed away for another year. I almost wish we could celebrate Christmas year-round. It truly is “the most wonderful time of the year.” From Thanksgiving until January 1, we set aside routine, taking time for family, friends and fun—without feeling guilty. We indulge our taste buds and enjoy special treats we deny ourselves the rest of the year. We open the mailbox and find, mixed in with the fliers and bills, cards from those we haven’t kept in touch with since last Christmas. We soak in the spirit of good will, cheer and excitement that grows as Dec. 25 draws nearer.
Then it’s all over. Decorations disappear, and with them, the joy of the season.
But it doesn’t have to be.
You see, years ago, I discovered something I don’t have to pack away: God’s Word. Every December I neglect my quiet time, so that when January 1 rolls around, I’m a month behind in my devotional readings. And so my first (and sometimes only) New Year’s resolution is “Put God back in first place.” Come January 2, I delve back into the Word.
Reading God’s Word, I’m reminded that, unlike my Christmas bills, I’ll never get a bill for the debt I owe God. His Son already paid it in full. I’m assured I’ll never be alone, for God will never leave me. I read of a darkness worse than the long winter nights I so dislike, but that darkness has been dispelled by the Light of the World. I catch a glimpse of my eternal home, where there is no death, mourning, tears, or pain. And whatever I need, whether it be strength to do what I need to do (like overcome stubborn pride and apologize when I don’t think I’m wrong), guidance for a decision, wisdom in knowing what to say or do, or a physical need such as food and clothing, my Father in heaven will provide it for me.
Christmas hasn’t been packed away, after all, only its outward symbols. Each time I open my Bible, I unwrap another gift.
Dear God, thank you that I can take Christmas with me each day of the New Year by reading Your Word. Amen.


Special-Tea: Read Psalm 19:7–11

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