We got our Christmas decorations put away over the weekend, and when I say we it was really ninety percent Jerry. I always hate it when it’s time to take down the Christmas decorations. It makes me a little sad. For one thing it’s a lot of backbreaking work. We have to get all the Christmas things put away and back into the attic. Then I have to find all the things that are usually out and remember where they go. I’m still missing a few things but I guess they will turn up. If they don’t then I don’t need them. But those reasons are not really why taking down Christmas makes me sad. You see I really love the Christmas season. I love the celebrations, the music, and the anticipation. And people are just nicer. I guess what really makes me sad is that Christmas is over.
I think the things I enjoy most are the lights. One of my favorite things to do is to have my morning coffee with the tree lights on and a fire in the fireplace. But it’s not just our own lights; I like the lights in our neighborhood and the lights around town.
The best lights of all are the lights from the candles at our church Christmas Eve service. What a beautiful picture of Jesus, the Light of the World, coming into a dark world. It gives me hope. During the Christmas season I can push that dark world back a bit. But when the decorations are packed away, reality comes back. Sunday morning we awoke to the terrible news of an attack at a Hanukkah celebration and then later a shooting at a church. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said it best:
And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men
So my prayer is that the Lord will help me keep Christmas in my heart. Joy to the World shouldn’t be just for a few weeks of the year. The Lord has come! He is with us. Yes, the world is still dark, but He has overcome the world. A few years ago I came across this work by Howard Thurman that beautifully express keeping Christmas:
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.