Putting Christmas Away

Now that Christmas is over, and even Epiphany is past, why do I still have the Christmas tree up? Why don’t I want to take the lights down off the porch? You know, even though Christmas comes every year, it’s different every year. We might spend it with the same people or different ones. We might attend the same church and sit in the same spot in the pew as last year. Or we might be attending a different church or no church at all this year.

Our parents and children might be with us or not. We might ache to fill the hole they once filled. We might have them with us still but be painfully aware that someday, these precious days will end. That the someday will come when they are not here anymore. Do you ever see the future in the midst of the present?

One year, my mother said to me, “Lauren, someday these days will be gone, and you will wish they could return.” And she was right. How I wish they could return. How I wish I could have just one more Christmas with all of my family, parents, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins. But life has moved into a different season for me now. Those days are gone, but still Christmas comes every year.

I guess I don’t want to take the tree or the lights down because some part of my little girl’s heart is waiting to show the beautiful Christmas tree to my mother. Or hoping my grandmother might walk up the steps to see the lights on our porch. Or that I might get out my guitar and sing Silent Night with my dad. Some of these people are living; some are not. My heart reaches out for them in the form of lights, ornaments, candles, and songs. I don’t want to put them away for another year.