Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Preacher’s Corner
Post-holiday clean-up brings joy and memories
This week was my time to finally put away all the Christmas decorations! Actually, some were in rooms I seldom walk through and I had forgotten about them.
People have different (and strong) opinions about when to take down their decorations. Some never take them down. I was joking about this with an Oxford friend who grew up on the Gulf Coast. My friend says they remove the Christmas decorations from their outside tree and convert it to a “Mardi Gras” tree which they keep lighted until Lent.
I am not sure about this and plan to make a covert “drive by” to see what it looks like. In New Orleans, perhaps — but Oxford? — well they are “sophisticated” down there now, I suppose.
Up here I wince at the red bows people put on the front grill of their pickups — and leave on for the rest of the year! These get pretty grimy by summer.
Mike and Mike, the two commentators on ESPN were discussing such things — and Mike — the Catholic member of the duo — remarked that he leaves his decorations up until Epiphany. I thought to myself it was probably the first time the word “Epiphany” had ever been used on ESPN.
Even Methodists and Presbyterians are still getting used to the term, for it has only been for a few years that our church calendar planners have emphasized such things — a scheme — I think, mostly put forth to bolster sales of those colored cloths for the pulpit and altar to indicate the transition of church seasons, and that are sold at great profit by our denominational supply houses.
One aspect of closing down Christmas is reviewing the cards I have received. I do enjoy reading them over again, looking at family photos that were enclosed, and marveling at how quickly the small children in these pictures do seem to grow up.
Another aspect is “getting back into a routine.” We all look forward to the holidays, but by the time they are over, I am not sure what day of the week it is anymore.
It always feels to me like there are several extra Sundays — and in a sense there are, for I always preach an extra sermon or two during the holidays. There is something comforting and reassuring about habit and regularity. Getting those things back in mid-January is always a relief for me. It lets me know I can cope with the cold days of winter.
I decorated less this year, and feel I enjoyed the season more. I do not know if there is an inverse relation between simplicity and satisfaction, but I suspect there is. I also know that our church looks so stark and bare after all the poinsettias and greenery are removed. But I think that starkness is bracing and a reminder that turning the page onto another year creates a fresh start and the possibility of filling our days with new, hopefully better interests, activities, and concerns.
These are some of the things I think about as I “take down the holly.” I hope your post-holiday clean-up activities also bring you joy.
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