Don't Put Christmas Away!
Christmas is over for another year. We wear our Christmas meals in extra pounds. We’ve tried to find new homes for gifts and promise we’ll make better places for them . . . tomorrow. And then, there’s the un-decorating. Somehow it isn’t as much fun to take down decorations as it was to put them up.
The caution for this post-Christmas time is to refuse to put Christmas away. Refuse to connect Christmas realities with ornaments and lights. Refuse to put away whatever grew in our hearts during this time.
I have a good friend who keeps an advent symbol in every room in his house. He does this to remind him to celebrate a little bit of Christmas every day. Not the gifts and the sugar cookies, but the Great Gift, the gift of God embodied in our human experience so that His Emmanuel promise has substance.
How many Christmases have we been through? Enough that we should be the re-made creations bearing the intimacy with God He intended from the beginning. Enough that we should understand how the story that began in the stable when Christ was born changes us every day as we live the message of the Great Gift.
We all know what happens. Life, with its responsibilities, interruptions, crises, pressures, and over-scheduling returns. These become our Christmas thieves without our realizing it.
There is another way; there must be. God didn’t bring His cast of characters together, send His angels on rare earthly missions that we might replicate the many wonders for a month before going back to life as it was before Christmas.
We must find a way to celebrate Christmas every day. We must make our stable ready every day, find our kneeling places every day, present our hearts as the only gift God wants every day.
How can keep Christmas every day? Here are some ideas I’m considering:
Place carefully chosen Christmas symbols in key locations where you can’t miss them.
Keep an Advent book available and read from it several times a month.
Slip a Christmas card that helps you revisit the first Christmas into the devotional book you are using.
Write out a monthly prayer that helps you respond to Christmas truth.
Start a gratitude journal to thank God for the difference Jesus makes in your life. Review it monthly.
Save a Christmas candle to use occasionally at a family meal to help you think about Christmas several times during the year.
Write a letter to yourself identifying what you have learned from this Christmas and how you want to live throughout the year. Put it in an envelope, address it to yourself, stamp it, and give it to a trusted friend to mail back to you in a month or two as a check-up.
For all the work it took to make our Christmas celebrations, it should change the way we live forward into the New Year. But it doesn’t happen automatically. We must be deliberate about it.
The good news is that God will always fill whatever space we give Him.
Don’t put Christmas away with all the decorations. Keep Christmas present in your home, your thoughts, your prayers, and your actions. Live Emmanuel truth. Always make room in your stable.