Sunday, January 2, 2011

Charm vs Clutter

I'm not sure how this happened, but I've noticed that all the Christmas decorations that added warmth and charm to my home before Christmas, have suddenly begun to feel like clutter! Actually, it happens every year, but I hadn't really stopped to think about it before. There is something about the anticipation of Christmas Day that compels us to prepare for it. We HAVE to decorate! We HAVE to shop! We HAVE to bake! Or do whatever other things that have become a tradition for us. It just wouldn't seem like Christmas if we didn't do all the things that have become a necessary part of the preparation for celebrating the season. And yet, once Christmas Day is past, suddenly there is an urgency to return to the norm. It's time to get back into our usual routine. it's time to return our home to it's usual "undecked" state. It's time to start eating sensibly. It's time to monitor the budget and stop spending wildly. Celebrating without restraint seems to be a universal, but short-lived, luxury. Our friends in Africa tell us that although they don't have much money to buy Christmas gifts, Christmas is the one time of year that everyone gets new clothes to wear to church and that there is enough food prepared for everyone to eat their fill.

Celebration of Christmas has become a tradition that has it's own unique meaning for each family or individual. It has become an annual "thing" that we do. For some people, it's simply a time to do things they don't ordinarily do, ie -- shop, eat, decorate, etc.But for others, it's also a time to focus on the birth of Christ and give thanks for the gift of his life. I know that Jesus is the reason for the season -- but I find myself asking, "isn't Jesus the reason for every day of my life?" There would be no Christmas if Jesus hadn't come -- I don't think some people really know or believe that. To some people, Christmas has nothing to do with Christ. I don't get that. Even if you have exchanged your "Merry Christmas" for "Happy Holidays", there's still the fact that the day is called Christmas. You just can't take the Christ out of Christmas without taking all the meaning out of the day! But for those who do embrace the gift of Christ, our celebration should not end on December 26th, should it? Okay, yes, maybe it's time to put away the decorations and start eating right, but the spirit of giving that we so freely embrace at Christmas time should continue 365 days a year, shouldn't it? The gift that we have been given through the life of Jesus is a gift that blesses us every day of our lives. It is a gift that must be shared with others, not just at Christmas, but every day.

So maybe the feeling that my Christmas charm has become Christmas clutter, comes from the fact that my celebration was not really about Jesus, but instead about me. Maybe I was celebrating a vacation from the norm, when in fact the norm should be an everyday celebration of the gift of Jesus. It's a thought to ponder as I put away my Christmas clutter and consider how to make this new year a year of celebration.