Though we’ve taken some of our Christmas decorations down, the tree is still up. Part of the reason for that is that Christmas seemed to go by too fast this year, or at least we were too busy to enjoy it. By “enjoy it” I mean build a fire in the fireplace and sit and study the tree. (Some of our ornaments, like “Baby’s First Christmas,” go back almost 40 years — 39 to be exact. They carry lots of memories.) On top of that, our tree was near perfect this year; I hate to take it down.
I did a little research to try to justify still having it up and remembered that in some traditions, Christmas decorations stay up until Epiphany, which works well except Epiphany was yesterday. Then I found this sentence in Wikipedia: “While it is customary for Christians in some countries to remove their Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve) those in other Christian countries historically remove them on Candlemas (February 2). There you go. So if you need to procrastinate on taking down your Christmas decorations, you can legitimately go all the way to February. Tell everybody you’re waiting for Candlemas.
Someone should invent a holiday to get over the holidays. We’ve turned Christmas into such a stressful time. Of course that has nothing to do with Jesus, and everything to do with our traditions, our memories and our expectations. Besides, this was simply a very busy December all the way around.
It’s almost impossible to lower expectations on Christmas without turning into Ebenezer Scrooge. The real answer is to plan better and start earlier. I hate those people who ask you on the 10th of December if you are ready for Christmas. They’re asking that because they obviously are.
Of course Marti will believe this when she sees it and not before. That’s because she’s the planner and I am not. The doctor made her shut down for most of last week because her blood pressure had gotten so high. That’s unheard of. Her blood pressure is usually so low, I wonder if blood is ever going to get back to her heart in time to go around again. So this means I have to let her plan more and cooperate with her plans. I gave her all that stress. She’s going to fall over when she reads this. This is where all those New Year’s resolutions come into play. Do they do any good? Can we change? Truth is: within reason, we can do anything we want. And outside of reason, we have the Spirit of God to empower us beyond what we think we can do. The big question is not can we do it, but do we want to do it?
So the tree stays up for now. Maybe not all the way to Candlemas, but for a few more days. It is a near perfect tree.
I have learned to “Do what I want or need to do and not really what I woulda, coulda, shoulda do.
Can I please once again make a suggestion for both you & gorgeous Marti (that may help with her blood pressure) To seriously consider reading Dr. Robert Rohms book DISC method about understanding personality types and how to live better with the opposite type. Because it’s sooo easy to see she’s a “D” & “I” type and your not, Pastor John.
PS Also, could either one of you consider replying back to an email with an attachment, I sent last year before Christmas? To try & make it a lot shorter: what did Jesus mean in the Sermon on the Mount when He said leave your gift @ the Alter and go reconcile w/ your brother, what if someone doesn’t think/believe they didn’t do anything wrong? Even though, Jesus didn’t say if you did something wrong! But if a brother has something against you… Plus if something is not true, most people with a bit of common sense, will call it – a lie! Yet even if he feels it’s not a lie – what did Jesus mean by leave your gift? Does it mean He doesn’t want to hear from you and will stop blessing?
I love the raw insights you share and your attempts at following Christ and loving your wife ! “…So this means I have to let her plan more and cooperate with her plans. I gave her all that stress. She’s going to fall over when she reads this….”
No offense meant by “attempts at following Christ.” For myself, there are days I would bet I followed Him well and loved well all day, only to be convicted days later of a selfish or codependent motive.
Why take the tree down?
You’ll just have to put it up again next year.
Good point, Dave!
Although, if it’s a live or fresh-cut tree there may be issues come August!
However, in that same vein our household usually leaves something out – an ornament, a Christmas magnet, a candlestick, or other item(s) – as a daily reminder of the recent celebration and the upcoming holiday.
We also have our Christmas cactuses which tend to bloom during all the other major holidays as well as at Christmas! 🙂
An in our household, too, the tree is adding such a cozy warm and woodsy feel to our house and home as we slowly bring a few things back to ordinary time. It’s “fresh” boughs laden with sweet and meaningful ornaments want us to let it linger…but once it droops that’s the signal. I will email you a beautiful poem I found on the front door of a “spiritual bookstore” in Oakland closed for a week for some time to be “still”. Check your email, John!
Now there you go. There’s some good thinking!
Thank you, Gail. I will.