Is there anyone else, like me, who still has Christmas decorations up?
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, that it’s the 10th of January and really it’s time to put all of the festive ornaments away and take down the Christmas tree! But this past year has been such a challenging one for everyone, that I can’t bear the thought of taking it all down just yet.
Somehow, the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree fills our living space with a warm glow and helps provide a little reminder that there is always hope no matter how dark it is in the world.
When I was growing up, one of our Christmas traditions was that I was able to pick out a new ornament for the tree. It was a lovely annual ritual which has left me with a special collection of beautiful, unique decorations for the Christmas tree.
In a similar fashion, I have started to pick out an ornament for each of my children so they too will have a collection of their own treasured ornaments to use when they are grown up. For 2020, Luke received a handsome, little fox and Anna was given a shiny rainbow. The fox made me think of sweet Luke in his orange fox, winter hat and Anna has always loved rainbows like me.
As far as church services, gatherings, and other festive events, this past year felt nothing like our previous Christmastimes. It was the first Christmas in all of my life, that I’ve not been to church for a carol or Christmas Eve service.
However, the excitement of our kids and a concentrated effort to solidify new traditions at home such as gingerbread house construction and making Christingles, helped me to get into the Christmas mood. In our own quiet way, we remembered together the true gift of Christmas. God loved us so deeply that He sent His most precious son, Jesus and through Him, God gave us the most meaningful gift of hope.
Though there is darkness in this world, we can firmly believe that our story doesn’t end here in the midst of chaos and a broken world. God’s hope fills our souls and allows us to cling on to that which is good. We can know deep down in our hearts that there is still fulfilling life to be had in the middle of hardship, grief, and the unknowns.
Whether you’re like me and need your Christmas decorations up just a bit longer this year or perhaps you’ve already officially moved into the new year, I pray that hope is part of your story.
Perhaps you need a rainbow picture up to remind you of God’s promises of love, peace, and His presence with us, or maybe you know someone who could really use one. I do wish you to carry hope with you into this January.
With many daily demands on every one of us, it is hard to have any reflective and mental space. But whatever little time you do manage to squeeze into your day or week, use it wisely.
You could try sitting quietly and lighting a candle for a few minutes or meditate on a Bible verse. I’m currently taking an afternoon break to read and write, while Charlie spends time with the kids and I can have a bit of refreshment before another week of homeschooling. Do whatever it is that helps inspire hope within you.
Keep going everyone! This is only a chapter in our stories and sometimes we have to get through the challenges before we can appreciate the victories. God is with you. Hold onto His hope. His light will shine through any darkness.
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.Romans 5:5