When does Christmas end for you? I know some people who take their tree and all the Christmas decorations down on Christmas day (after opening gifts, of course). Then I know others who still have their Christmas tree up or just recently took it down (which, honestly, is a little concerning to me at this point if you have a real tree...).
In my home, the Christmas tree usually comes down the first week in the New Year. (We had no choice this year as our tree was completely dead.) As far as other decorations, I limit what a put away to things that are strictly Christmas (for example, anything that says "Merry Christmas", has a picture of the nativity scene on it, or any other purely Christmas references). This means that yes, I still have my lit garland decorating my house. I have snowmen still resting on shelves and a big one on my front door. I still have my "primitive" tree up, adorned with wintery ornaments. Winter continues, even though Christmas is over (and even though we've had hardly a bit of snow).
But this blog post is not about home decor... It's about something more important that my son has taught me since coming home from celebrating the holidays with our family.
The process of taking the Christmas tree and all the Christmas decorations down was a bit difficult for him to understand (in fact, it was a little upsetting to him). He didn't want the tree to go away, even though there were no more presents under it. He liked looking at all the ornaments. He didn't want the various nativity scenes to be packed away... He enjoyed playing with them and telling the Christmas story, in his own cute, unique way.
As I attempted to explain to him why I was putting all these pretty things away. Christmas is all done for this year. Next year, we'll put them back up.
I could practically see the wheels of his mind turning as he attempted to fully understand what I was telling him. He seemed somewhat satisfied with my response and continued on with all that a 2 year old does to keep himself busy. The next morning, after being awake for a bit, Jadon asked me where the Christmas tree went. I responded with a typical mom response.
"Jadon, what did Mommy say was going to happen to the tree."
He stopped and thought for a moment and then said, "Mommy and Daddy put it away until next Christmas... when Jesus comes back."
My heart melted (and the pregnancy hormones almost let loose with sobbing, but somehow I managed to contain myself). This may seem to be an cute, innocent comment, but to me it was not only confirmation that he at least is beginning to understand the concept of why the birth of Jesus is so important; but it was also a reminder to me that even though the Christmas decorations are put away, we still need to remember the birth. We need to remember not only the baby who was born in such humble fashion, but that baby who became a man and was killed in such a humiliating moment of history. Why remember? Because he did it for me. He did it for you.
After all the decorations are packed away, adorn your heart with the love of Jesus. When all the special Christmas programs and services have ended, continue celebrating the birth, life, death, and eventual second coming of Christ each day in prayer and in attitude. Once the Christmas carols have stopped being sung in church and we've changed our playlists and Pandora stations, continue singing in your heart, "Joy to the World, the Lord has come!" And don't forget the second verse, either!
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
As Jadon was laying in his bed before falling asleep for his nap today, I heard him humming. I listened, wondering what song was stuck in his head and recognized this very song, "Joy to the World". Repeat the sounding joy. Remember all that Jesus accomplished, from birth to death and beyond the grave. And anticipate His return... next Christmas, according to Jadon.
~ Carrie ~