As you read this you’ll probably be thinking about the task of taking down your Christmas tree, packing away joyous memories for another year. I dread taking down our tree! I grieve like it’s a death.
But as I write this it’s December 13th and last week I decorated our Christmas tree. It was -6 degrees outside and the snow was swirling. A winter wonderland outside our bay window – the perfect Christmas setting. As I hung ornaments I thought about some things that might be helpful as you un-decorate 🙂
1. This is not a job to do alone. Make some hot chocolate, gather your family and make it a special memory! Even little ones can help. Ask their opinion about where ornaments need to go.
2. The best ornaments, like the best people, are ones with a story. Specifically for us, those would be the ornaments we’ve gathered from countries we’ve visited around the world, and those crafted with lots of glue and love by our kids when they were little. If you’re a parent of little ones let me give you a tip: Be sure to put names and dates on the back of ornaments your kids make now so you’ll remember in years to come.
3. Decorating (or Un-decorating) your tree is a great time to pray for the people and stories behind the ornaments. As I hung the ornament I bought in Palestine I prayed for peace in the Middle East. As I hung a picture of our newly married daughter and her husband I prayed for their marriage. When I put up an ornament made by Masai in Africa I prayed for our sponsored children in Zambia.
4. As you pack things away, share your favorite memory from the Christmas season.
5. Last year, as I was taking decorations down and wrapping up the creche I got to thinking maybe I should keep the baby Jesus out as a reminder. Maybe not pack Him away.
It made me think of this Frederick Buechner quote:
“Those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of us. If holiness and the awful power and majesty of God were present in the least auspicious of all events, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there, too. And this means that we are never safe, that there is no place where we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from his power to break in two and recreate the human heart because it is just where he seems most helpless that he is most strong, and just where we least expect him that he comes most fully.”
Isn’t that great? “…no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there, too…”
The decorations that have heralded Jesus’ birth may be packed away, but He is not. He’s here! Among us and in us and around us…holiness invading and redeeming the ordinary and the ugly and the broken.
Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
By Laura Crosby
Wife to John, Mom of 2
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member, Pastor, and Blogger