As much as I'd like to consider myself a "free-spirit," for some reason I simply cannot bend when it comes to the start/stop of Christmas. I can't handle Holiday decorations and Christmas songs in January. For me it starts right after Thanksgiving (which I know is too early for some) and finishes when December ends.
I like it to end, when it's supposed to end, which in my mind should not extend past January 1st.
However, my kids don't share my convictions (and obviously the rest of my city doesn't either). My kids are still belting out, loud, proud, and off-key: "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," at all hours of the day and night (with the wrong lyrics) and probably will until July. Then I drive around town and see Christmas trees still displayed in houses and LED lights and neon statues all over the neighborhood. I feel like I'm a part of some conspiracy I can't escape.
I can't explain it. It's as if my heart/mind are ready to move on to what's next, and what's NEW (which commercialism would have me believe it should be Valentine's day), but I keep getting pulled back into the past. (Which again, I'm a sap, I love good memories and reflecting on the good old days, but I'm just saying..take down the Elf on the Shelf, people).
Which leads me to my next pet peeve. The New Year Started about eleven days ago. So how long until we stop saying "Happy New Year?" Until February? Am I just a Grinch? I think not, I just think I'm right...
I think it's something about wanting to have appropriate understanding, or boundaries, of a season. Although you could disagree and find a great argument in which to combat me, or just tell me to loosen up.
And I'm sure theologically I could write a whole other blog making a case to keep our Christmas lights shining all year through in order to center our wholes lives on Christmas story, and be true Biblical people who light the world for Jesus, but I'll pass.
Or..in just a small little way, could this feeling, maybe, be another sign that we live in the tension of eternity? A tension that communicates things aren't always as they are supposed to be and we must find a way to exist in the midst of constant, mess, constant transition, constant reality stretching experiences.
A few weeks ago I talked about this tension of grief illustrating a bit of tension between the "kingdoms" we live in. listen here.
So here comes my analogy.
We are continually trying to make sense of this eternal story, (God creates, God comes close, we destroy, we push God away, God redeems, God invites us close again) and these seasons we live in, whether winter,spring,summer, fall, or our life-stage and age, are just "whispers" reminding us that we were made for somewhere else. Like Adam and Eve, we were all made for the Garden. We were made for the freedom, clarity, and the closeness of the Garden, but we messed it up, he intervenes, and helps us to make sense of the world and live like we were made--for Heaven.
We were made to live in perpetual beauty, with no confusion, and no starting/stopping of celebrations, relationships, or life itself.
So, for what it's worth, I wish you simply a HAPPY NEW PERSPECTIVE or whatever it is you need to center your life on God in 2013. Happy New _______. You fill in the blank. What do you need this year, this season? Whatever it is, I know that God is able and enough to fulfill you. And I started this year reminding myself of Ephesians 3:14-21.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
This is my prayer to remember God can do more than I could ever ask or imagine.
And this is my prayer, too, that whatever you do, you take down your inflatable people, blinking icicle lights, and over-sized, ginormous ornaments that are so heavy they are breaking the trees in your front yard..no later than February 1st.. Thank you.