Friday, January 23, 2015

Christmas in January

Christmas bell to ring all year!
Christmas is over.  Well, the calendar date has passed, but its gift certainly remains.  So, why should we pack away all the celebratory decorations?  A time for everything and everything in its season?   That was my reasoning too.  So, for all my adult life, my trees, ornaments, wreaths, nativities, ribbons and bows were all packed away in their containers for eleven months out of the year. 

At least it was until a few years ago, when I accidentally overlooked a little ceramic bell (that my grandmother had made) when packing up all the decorations.  When I discovered it had been left behind, I decided to leave the little ringer out on the piano to remind me why there is joy in music.  So, there sat the lovely bell, all year long.  It drew my attention every time I passed by, because its holly and berries seemed out of place, yet its message “rang” loud and clear.  

We have reason to rejoice, and tell the world of the precious Child-God in flesh-Who came to pay my ransom and set me free from the power of sin!  I thought of my sweet grandmother, and the precious memories of our time together.  Why should all that joy and love be packed away?  Other than the off chance that the CDP (Christmas Decoration Police) might stop by, I really couldn’t think of a good reason, so that is when my tradition began. 

Each year since, I have left out something usually used only at Christmas, but left out as a reminder throughout the following year.  One year a stained glass cross ornament hung on a kitchen cabinet door, one year an angel graced a desk, another year a wreath of jingle bells…and on and on.  This year, it is another bell, a lovely cloisonn√© ornament, that will be my remaining cue to ring out the good news “in and out of season”.   

Perhaps you could use a reminder too, of His enduring love, and gift, and our commission, which were never meant to be limited to a particular calendar season.  Perhaps you could use a reminder that we should let our minds dwell upon “whatsoever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, … anything of worthy of praise” from chapter four of the book of Philippians.  The verses immediately prior to and after this, speak of the peace of God and the God of peace.  It is easy to see the connection.  

Father, how we thank You for Your gifts to us.  We celebrate Your coming to earth in a body of flesh to become the payment for our sin debt.  As we move past the season of remembering Your birth with presents, refresh our joy and urgency to share by helping us to see Your presence everyday. 

So, let the critics laugh at my “forgotten” ornament.  If the CDP show up, I’ll just plead “intentional peace”, and share a little joy.  What about you?  What do you do to keep the season active and His presence clear?  As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!