I finally got our Christmas decorations from the porch taken down today! Well, mostly–I still need to get up on the step ladder and take down the icicle lights–the staples go in so hard that it takes a pair of pliers to pry them out!
Part of the reason it’s taken this long to get this job done is that I went away for two weeks earlier this month, during the time when “normal” people take their decorations down. Part of it is that I deliberately chose not to take them down the day after Christmas, as so many people seem to do nowadays. We have forgotten that the “12 days of Christmas” BEGIN with Christmas day, and end at Epiphany. Hence, we have always kept our decorations up and lit during the 12 days. Actually, Kelly chose to keep the porch lights on until sometime late last week, because she liked them, and they cheered her up. I say, good for her.
Looking at my calendar yesterday, I realized that we are just four weeks away from Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. “Wow,” I said, “it seems like we just recovered from Christmas, and it’s time to start again.” But that’s the joy and the challenge of the Christian year–we move by a rhythm of fasts and feasts, of preparation and celebration. While it is good to “keep Christmas in your heart” all year long, it is also good to be reminded that Jesus’ work on earth didn’t stop with his being born in Bethlehem. He grew up (though we know frustratingly little about his childhood and adolescence), taught his people how to love, healed the sick, raised the dead, challenged the powers that were, was crucified, died, and rose again. And, through the power of the Holy Spirit, he lives today in the body of Christ, his people the Church.
So, though I am sad to see an end to the Christmas lights for another year, I am glad that we are preparing to enter another season of waiting and watching and preparing ourselves for the coming of the King. For it is in the preparation and the journeying and the pilgrimage that we ultimately find ourselves again, and in so doing, we find God.
Grace and Peace,