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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Putting Christmas Away

The boxes are full and the shelves are empty. 
All the decorations gathered on the dining room table waiting to be boxed up.
I just have to drag everything to our storage unit in the basement and put it to bed for another year. It's so strange...I love the decorating and the beauty of our home when all the Christmas stuff is up and around.  And then, shortly after the New Year, I begin to long for it to be put away again and return my home to its more normal state of decoration.  It's such an odd thing, to transform your home seasonally, love it, and then want to transform it back!  As I was taking things down this week, I laughed at how much dirt was lurking underneath the beautiful exterior!  Candles have been burned so there are used matches, and candle wax and sooty remains all over the place.  Company has come and gone so I've found cookie and cracker crumbs, potato chip droppings, candy wrappers and other various and sundry items in every corner of the house.  Some of the Poinsettias have seen better days, others are still thriving.  One Amaryllis has gone to flower heaven but the other one is tall and beautiful.  I marvel each time I walk past it.  The Hyacinth is long gone.  Likely a good thing because while I love the smell and appearance, it doesn't like me much and so I sneeze and sneeze while taking in the scent.  The only thing I haven't put away yet are the advent lights in the windows.  I cannot bear to take them down yet. 
Santa and Carolers put away...lights remain for a few more weeks!
The house is so dark once these are put away and so I'm stretching their presence until I see no other windows in town with them still lit!  But the Santas and the Nativities have been packed away and now my empty shelves await the "normal" decor.I'm not sure what I'm going to do this year.  I may not put up as many things this time around.  I may opt for a cleaner less cluttered look on our shelves and window sills.  I desperately need new photographs for our picture frames so maybe I'll get around to getting some photographs printed and framed!  For now, I'm happy for how clean our house is and am reveling in that.
I'm wondering how this decorating and undecorating and deep pondering about what to put up next is like my life.  Do I take enough time to take certain things out of my life for a season, enjoy something new, and then consider what things I'd like keep out of my life and what other new things I'd like to add?  I so enjoy the process of transforming our home each Christmas.  And I equally enjoy transforming it back but it never looks exactly the same as it did before.  And I'm glad for those small changes.  Can this task translate to life?  I feel like my life has been a bit transformed this Christmas.  I've been reading Bonhoeffer and Nouwen.  I've loved the Advent and Christmas journey we shared with our church.  I've enjoyed the rhythms of this season.  I feel like a different person today than I was a month ago.  But now that my daily Advent readings are finished, what will replace that?  How will I seek to decorate my house, that is my life, that will most beautifully reflect God's work in my life?  What changes, however small they may be, can I make to the decor of my life to more beautifully display the love of God in Christ?
As I put the decorations away for another year, these are the things are thinking about.