Alas…Christmas really is over, and a new year…a new January has begun. Since college, I have noticed that this tends to be my “bluest” month. Maybe I’m not alone?
I usually love to keep our home decorated until New Year’s, and then I can’t wait to take everything down. But this year for some reason it seemed to take hours — days! — to put everything away. I had started putting away the Christmas tree ornaments and had to stop to get ready for our friends Bobby and Claire to come over. After we’d had dinner together, we all had fun doing Wii Sports… and then we noticed Annie busy over by the tree. I figured she was continuing to take down ornaments. But Claire went over to her, and found her putting BACK up the ornaments that I had taken down. She said it best: “I don’t want Christmas to end so I’m putting everything back.”
Claire assured Annie that Christmas doesn’t have to end — that EVERY day can be Christmas. This seemed to help her… eventually, the next day, the tree, and the rest of the trimmings, got put away in boxes, labeled, and placed high in the closets upstairs and the shed outside.
It has felt especially sad to put everything away, knowing that we will be back in America next Christmas, and not “at home.” In most ways, Japan really does feel like home, and it is where we have most of our family memories. We will need to create new traditions, and borrow some Christmas decorations, when we are back next year. But, in the meantime, I need to think about how to make each day, even dreary January days, feel special like Christmas.
I was greatly encouraged yesterday at our house church. We were studying the familiar first five verses of the Bible: In the beginning…(Genesis 1:1-5). This time I read the second verse with new eyes: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” In the midst of the darkness — before light was even created — the Spirit of God was hovering. It reminds me of Daniel 2:22 — “…He knows what is in the darkness..” Even in our dark days, the Spirit of God is hovering. It is this simple, profound truth that can allow me to experience the specialness of Christmas each day, even in January.