So I've spent the past couple of days storing our Christmas decorations. It seems that for over a month, Christmas has been bubbling out of every corner of my house! As I was dismantling the tree and wrapping ornaments, I found it kind of sad to be putting it all away. The twinkling lights, garland, decorations and vibrant pops of color during this time of year, seem to fill my house with the essence of the holiday spirit and inevitably makes me smile when I walk in the room.
It seemed as if it took weeks for me to get everything just right and in place, but surprisingly it only took a matter of hours to take down and stash back in the box to be stored until next year.
I thought it was sweet that the youngest of my three girls asked if we could just keep our decorations up until next year, because it all looked so pretty. I have to admit that a little validation goes a long way! :-)
I haven't been to the store yet since Christmas, but I am quite sure that the shelves have been stripped of all things "Christmas" and something new is in its place. The gift giving is over, the songs have been silenced, and life is supposed to go back to normal.
Have you thought about that phrase, "Back to normal?" What does that mean. One of my favorite things about Christmas (other than the decorations) is that even people who don't normally talk about God, will openly discuss our Savior's birth. I love that!; It seems people will more openly rejoice over the birth of Jesus. They will sing songs about Him, attend services or nativity scenes.......all through December normal changes, then when January rolls around all of that goes away and life goes back to "non December" normal.
Philippians 4:4 says "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!"
Deuteronomy 11:1 says "Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always."
These verses don't say that we are to only obey them during the month of December. They say that we are to do these things "always!" Say it..........always!
We are to rejoice always, we are to love God always, we are to obey His statutes, judgments, and commandments always, we are to keep His charge always!! Not only when things are going well for us, or not only when things are going bad for us.
I like to put a personal touch to the verses as I read them.......like this: I will rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will rejoice.
or like this: I will love the Lord God, and I will keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always.
I think we should change what normal looks like! For the next 11 months we should sing louder, worship harder, praise more intensely, share more consistently, and love with the compassion of Jesus Himself. If we would challenge ourselves in this way, I believe our Christmas season next year would be even more wonderful than the one before. I also know that Jesus would be pleased.
As you look at setting personal and family goals for the new year, find ways that you can make a difference in the lives of the people you come in contact with. It is up to us to share the love of Jesus........... ALWAYS!!!!