This was the first Christmas in years I have been completely devoid of the desire to “take down Christmas,” as we say. The first year I remember feeling this way was my first baby’s first Christmas. My mother-in-law had always decorated her tree with little birds. She was growing older and was unmotivated about setting up Christmas trees, etc. A nice poinsettia was all her heart desired. She graciously gave me all her little birds and the family tradition was carried on in our home. Mandy was just the right age to be fascinated with the tree and especially with the delicate birds. I remember taking the tree down, sometime after New Year’s Eve, during her afternoon nap. Tears streamed down my cheeks at the thought of her waking up. It would never be her first Christmas again, and her first Christmas tree covered with little birds would be nowhere in sight. Vanished!
This year I think I could’ve left the tree up indefinitely or at least until the glacier of ice and snow in our front yard melts. My children all voiced to me at Sunday dinner January 4th that this would be highly inappropriate. I knew they were right, but I love plugging in the tree on December 26, when all the Christmas parties are over and all the gifts have been bought, wrapped, unwrapped, and taken home. Somehow at that moment the light on the tree looks different to me. There’s almost a tangible feeling of rest in the room. I had the idea of maybe putting everything away slowly and asked my husband if he would just bring the storage boxes into the house and tuck them away in the family room. Well, I guess hadn’t really shared with my husband my plans to enjoy the Christmas setting a little longer; I went out for a couple of hours and when I walked into the house the whole tree was down and all the decorations were stacked in neat little piles waiting for my attention. I gave up and spent the rest of the evening boxing up Christmas. I made the best of it, but I felt like I was boxing up “peace.”
As usual it feels nice to have it all tucked away in the garage again. And as I write I am struck with the truth that many things don’t keep forever, but Christmas does. Taking the wreath off the front door, boxing up the decorations, and throwing away the last of the goodies on the kitchen counter – Those are the things we do to declare the holiday has ended. But, there really is no end, because Christmas is Jesus Christ. His life and the life He has given us is never ending, everlasting.
No matter how much we wish they would, babies don’t last. This year was Mandy’s first Christmas with her first baby. Now she’s the one with a lump in her throat as she celebrates the lasts of all the firsts. Even the little glass birds don’t last forever. One by one they have been replaced by more durable, less delicate varieties. But Christmas lasts forever. The day after Christmas and the day after that and on and on day after day the same blessings that come to us because of the life of Jesus remain available. Christmas is truly The Gift that keeps on giving.
When I box up Christmas I’m not boxing up the His peace, His love, His grace, His revelation or the daily tender mercies that come because of Him. He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the word giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
We can endure all the things of this life that change before our very eyes, because Christ has made all the good and all the joys of this life Eternal. We Don’t Ever Have To Put Christmas Away!
By Nannette W.
Posted Friday, January 9, 2009
From Nannette’s Christmas Archives Re-posted January 6, 2012
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