We finally took down our Christmas tree on Saturday, halfway through January. I’ve always taken it down before I go back to school after Christmas break, but my timing got a little thrown off this year with New Year’s falling on the week-end.
The plan was to take it down after church on New Year’s Day, but it was cold and gloomy outside and I was tired. Keith said, “Where is it written that it has to come down today?”, so I gladly took a nap instead.
I shared this on Facebook and several friends assured me I was okay until January 6, which is Epiphany, the official end to the Christmas season. But that week-end was when we had our cold snap and the temperatures didn’t go above the 20’s for several days. I took off the ornaments, but didn’t want to open up the attic door and let in the cold air, so we enjoyed the lights one more week.
I was reminded of the year when Adam was little and I was putting up the Christmas things. In his sweet child’s faith, he asked, “Why do we have to put up the Nativity Scene? Don’t we need to remember them all year?” I couldn’t argue with his logic, so we kept the little porcelain Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus and the cows, shepherds and wise men out on the table that whole year. They were a reminder of the story that is ingrained in us and defines us as followers of Christ – our mighty King, born in a stable.
But the Christmas tree takes up more room than a small nativity scene, so I ran out of excuses this week-end and Keith and I took off the lights, dismantled the tree and hauled everything to the attic. The den seemed awfully dark without the glow from the tree, so I dug out an angel light that had belonged to my mother-in-law and plugged it in on the bookshelf. She gave out just enough to brighten up the corner of the room.
During the beautiful Christmas season we have lots of lights around us and lots of reminders of our faith and opportunities to share with others. But then we pack all the decorations up and come into the sometimes gloomy days of winter. We need to still shine. We need to continue to be a light to those in darkness. We need to remember who we are as followers of Christ:
I don’t always know what “letting my light shine” means, but I know that I need to be constantly seeking God’s leading in my life and when I’m doing that, the way opens up. And the beauty of God’s grace is that I don’t have to struggle beyond that. When I’m praying for His leading in my life, opportunities to shine His light become evident and all I have to do is follow through.
I want to be like that little angel on the shelf, putting out her light in one corner of the world. All of our lights shining together can push away the gloom and shadows that often threaten to take over.