This is that sacred time of the year…filled with peace, relaxation and calm…when I attach my dried out Christmas tree to a bungee cord, hook it to my wife’s SUV and drag it behind the Explorer through the streets of Clarence Center to the Town’s Tree Drop.
And just like that…Christmas is over. Sort of.
We took all the lights/trees/decorations/mangers/stockings down inside and outside yesterday, not because the church season of Christmas is over, but instead because (1) we had time, (2) we had energy, (3) the ground was frozen enough outside that I wasn’t walking in mud and soft dog poop and (4) “we did Christmas well.”
We did Christmas well this year. In our assessment, we had more peace than chaos, more laughs than tears, more family time than busy time and more time for faith than frustrations.
We were lucky this year I guess.
But I know not everyone was. I went to four house fires in the week overlapping Christmas where families lost most, if not all, their possessions. I had several friends say goodbye to their loved ones who passed away in the same time period. I watched news footage of church and worship space shootings. Stories of our military having to amp up because of overseas chaos in embassies. And the ongoing plight of my Haitian family and friends as political turmoil carries on and hunger and lack of medical care rise to new levels of terrible.
So, is this really the time to pack everything up and put it away? Feels like we might need it now more than ever.
I’m not sure why, but over the past few years, I’ve noticed that our culture seems to behave better, share more frequently and love more deeply in that time period when the decorations are out. There are more stories of love, grace, Tim Horton’s orders to the person in line behind you, Angel Trees and year end gifts than at any other time of the year.
Is it only about the decorations? Are they magic and make us less jerky from mid-November until January 1st?
Or is there a chance that there’s something about the light that they bring with them? The connection to something bigger? Something incredible? Something surprising and undeserved? An adoption into something more powerful than our own egos and self-pleasing desires?
Paul told the church in Ephesus: “God destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ.” This is the same Jesus that John began his gospel talking about when he said: “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” The Love and “God made flesh” came into the world to be a Light to all people. That Love is what we are adopted into. Adopted. Not temporarily placed. Not linked to for a certain period of time. Not connected to only when Christmas music is on the radio.
I’ve realized that in NO PLACE, NO WAY, NO SHAPE and NO TIME does Scripture tell us that this Light gets put away and removed from our daily life. Not even a stone-blocked tomb could contain it or overcome it.
So remember this week…this weekend…and in the days ahead vaulting us into this new decade, even as we pack away the temporary lights, decorations and reminders of Christmas morning…you are permanently adopted into a new Light, a new Love and because of that gift, nothing that we will face, stand by, see in the news or be connected to could possible overcomes God’s love for you through his son Jesus.
Today we are blessed, because God did Christmas well!
Lord, thanks for all the little lights that we soon/did put away. Help us see the true Light all year round. Amen
Still in One Peace,