It’s time to pack away Christmas and I’m ready. To be honest it’s early for me, but this year I feel more than ready.
I’m taking down the all decorations, ornaments and lights, and packing them away until next December.
My pretty white ceramic angels get carefully wrapped and placed in just the right spot. Handmade by my mom for me many Christmases ago, they hold a special place in my heart and home. A simple wood-carved nativity rests quietly in the tote beside the delicate angels. The angels will wait until their moment next fall to draw attention to the humble manger scene …. when they sit on my favorite shelves once again. Pretty white lighted houses, snowball garlands, twinkly lights and advent candles all get gently packed away for another season.
Even though I’ve loved having them around me this season, I’m ready to simplify my décor and move forward into a new year.
I wonder as I carefully set ‘Christmas’ back into plastic totes, am I packing away JOY, PEACE, and HOPE too? Is the humble babe born to be our Saviour, Redeemer, Hope-Giver, and Light also being placed in a cold tote in a dark closet? May it never be so, I pray quietly.
When January soon bites me with hard cold frost and when the shortened days with lingering nights leave me restless, can I look for and find JOY? Does PEACE settle around me like a warm soft cloak, enveloping my limping heart with a cushioned wall of protection? Is HOPE what I cast my eyes toward when I bundle up and venture out on my frosty walk by the river?
I’m reminded of a familiar verse I had chalked onto my board last year:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – Romans 12:12
I remember and I breathe deep breaths. I remind myself once again to practise being ‘joyful in hope’ as I lean into my Father. My hope is in Him, and in His steady faithfulness to me, not in my circumstances. My emotions, moods and circumstances are ever changing, but He is constant, unmoving, and ever faithful.
I close my eyes and feel the Beautiful One take my hand, walking me into a new year. Joy, peace, hope and faith are brilliantly alive in me because He dwells in my heart. He doesn’t walk away now that Christmas is a memory for another year. I smile and whisper a prayer of thanks that lays like a warm blanket over my soul – my sometimes weary soul. His gifts are mine for the receiving, not only in December, but all year long. I open my hands and heart to welcome Him, receive Him and treasure His gifts.
The weary world rejoices, not only that He came, but that He lives. Hallelujah, He lives! That is the best GOOD NEWS ever!
As I close the door on totes full of Christmas, I walk forward in the light of Christ. I won’t forget the baby born to be the Redeemer of the world. When the darkness of this world surrounds me, and grief and pain seem like constant companions, He illuminates my pathway with joy, hope, peace, grace and His presence. He gives me strength for the journey, and never leaves me alone.
Immanuel – God with me. God with all of us.
He will cover you with His feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. – Psalm 91:4
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14