Saturday, January 1, 2011

No Expiration Date

Here we are, fresh into a new year! My tree is already taken down, ornaments gently put away for another 11 months. Looking back(over the last 6 weeks),Christmas is a special time of year. Once we get past eating our turkey and giving thanks, then I'm onto the decorating, with holiday CD's, playing in the background. The buzz of the music and glow of the lights, puts me in good spirits.

I enjoy every bit of this time of year. But a few days ago, I decided that I couldn't stand looking at those red stockings another minute: it all had to go. I normally wait until after New Year's Day, but since last Thursday was so rainy, I was home all day and thought, what the heck: might as well get a jump on it. It felt so good to have my living room back...well, almost. What I really did was make more room for all the new toys the kids have been playing with. They like them so much that they never get put away at the days' end.

As I was putting all the stuff away, it occurred to me why tradition is celebrated for a short time: it has limited shelf life. Kind of like that box from the store with a date stamped on the top: best if used by...the end of the year. I love Christmas and every thing it stands for. Yes, even Santa, and stockings hung adds a little sweetness to the mix. But in the aftermath of wrapping paper, and boxes that I can't throw away(because my son thinks they make good sheds for his tractors), I realize--once again--that all of this is temporary.

Maybe I'm one of those people who need the contrast of routine vs. celebration, to fully embrace what it means. How boring would life be if we never took a break from the dailies, and celebrated the reason we have life, in the first place? And yet, if we left our tree up all year long, it would cease to be special, lose its sparkle, and annoy me. Oh, but leaving outdoor lights up, through winter, is ok in Minnesota...if it isn't, then I'm one of those houses that will annoy drivers, passing by.

While we may grow tired of the holiday scene, it serves to remind us of what we have access to, every day of the year. It reminds us of the temporary nature of this earth, and the eternal satisfaction that comes with knowing the One who came to give us life. He is the only presence that has no expiration date. He always has been and always will be. He is the Everlasting One. And He is always more than enough. I cannot comprehend the nature of God, how He can be 3 persons, and yet one. But I've decided to get up, each day, and trust Him. No matter what comes, or how miserably I might fail, He is still God...and He is still here, every single day.

On the lighter side, Happy New Year, 2011! Isn't it great that we get to start a new length of time, putting a calendar in place, for all that will come? We don't know what the days ahead will bring, but I like that we are always changing, and co-authoring new chapters in our stories. Enjoy the year ahead, and make it a good one, one day at a time.