it is the time of taking down the christmas decorations in our home, and that always brings a certain sadness for me. my wife loves to decorate for christmas, and our home is filled with garlands, wreaths, candles, and all sorts of christmas decor. putting it all away is a chore, just as getting it all out is, and packing it up is a way for us to bring our lives back to "normal," to the every day routines that we follow during the rest of the year.
during the christmas season, especially the week before and the week following christmas, those daily routines are set aside. the regular weekly meetings and activities in which we are involved don't take place, preparing the traditional christmas meals and goodies takes up much of our time, and we focus on the big day of our family gathering when we eat together, play christmas games, and exchange gifts. it is as if our usual day-to-day schedule is set aside and we live in a completely different world for those few days.
with the coming of new year's day, we are jolted back to our regular responsibilities. we begin playing catch-up, feverisly plunging back into taking care of those things that needed doing but were set aside for the christmas celebrations. the packing-up of the christmas decorations that fill our home symbolizes that return to normalcy and the attendant obligations that are a part of that "normalcy."
as i began my morning mediation/prayer time today, my mind was racing through the things that were needful: taking care of music for three upcoming symphony concerts, planning a month's-worth of music at church along with practice for the upcoming sunday, helping my wife with the "unhanging of the greens" around our house. i sensed that God was saying to me, "all in good time--take your life one step at a time and offer each task as a joyful offering to Me. it will all get done but not all at once." with those thoughts in my heart, i realized that things would fall into place, my regular routine would return, i would look back on this christmas as a time of great joy when i stepped out of that regular routine for a time of festivity that brings the year to it's proper close, and fretting over how to get it all done was a waste of energy.
my prayer for myself and you today is that we take time to stop and enjoy the sweetness of christmas and other festivals that take us from our normal lives for a brief time and that we return to those normal lives remembering the magic of those few days of celebration, easing back into our usual routines and responsibilities confident that each day is a gift that is pefect in its own way.