When The Twinkle Lights Are Gone

Christmas is over.

Remnants of wrapping paper hide in the corner, and the tree that sheltered a toppling pile of presents only hours ago has nothing beneath it but a few scattered needles.  The children, a mile high on excitement and sugar this morning have quieted and curled up with exhaustion.  The house that has held it’s breath in anticipation for a full month seems to exhale slow.

There’s a let down of sorts after all the euphoric build up to this one day, and now it’s over.

It’s the difference between the swollen, expectant abdomen of a woman heavy with child, and the sagging, post-baby belly.  Did Mary feel it, exhausted, and dirty, and tired as she must have been?  This it’s not what I had expected feeling?  Will I ever get over that feeling about life?  Not. What. I. Expected.

It’s the difference between the white satin and lace and I Do’s of the wedding day and the jeans and cotton and doing what I said I’d do day after day after day.

Everyday faithfulness even when the excitement is gone isn’t glamourous.  Getting up with that baby every night all night long…it’s good, but it’s not fun.  Scrubbing bathrooms and making his favorite cookies and greeting him with a kiss when the sparkles of romance are deeply banked coals…it’s good, but it’s not spontaneous.

The coming of Jesus, His birth…we anticipate it, celebrate it, party hard, drink deeply of joy…

…but the glow fades like rolled up twinkle lights.

Deep winter settles in.  Cold.  Dark.  Precious little good tidings meet the realities of the New Year with the same bills and difficult people and every day responsibilities.

This God who comes to us…how often I live like He only came for a visit.  That He is God-Who-Saw, and not God-Who-Sees.  That He is confined to the Nativity Scene and not the world of alarm clocks and dirty diapers and bad news and weariness and shocking headlines.

When the darkness settles in, let’s not forget the Light of the World.

When no one else can or will walk the hard road with us, let’s not forget the One who walked the Via Dolorosa – literally, “the road of suffering” – out of love for you and me.

Put away your stockings, roll up your greenery, and throw out your wreath whenever you please.

But Jesus?

He’s yours to keep.

Forever.

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