Putting Christmas back in the box...
I've spent some time today taking down the Christmas decorations. (technically I know they are supposed to be down by the 6th of January, but I'm living dangerously )
I was aware of some mixed emotions - 'ah well, that's another year over, done and dusted', remembering past Christmases when my boys were younger and would wake me only seconds after I'd fallen asleep (or so it seemed). I also felt a bit relieved in a way - I could get back to my 'normal' routine, the house would for a brief period of time look more spacious and tidier and I no longer had to aspire to be any kind of domestic goddess.
I paused as I put away different tree decorations which we had acquired over the years. A lot of them have memories and meaning attached to them. There are some my children have made when they were little, one made by a dear friend who sadly passed away several years ago, others bought for special occasions. Precious memories - now to be all tided away.
But then, I started thinking a little more. Did I really want to put Christmas in the box and pack it all away until next December? I think there's a lot about what we do, and how we are at Christmas, which is worth keeping and remembering in the year ahead. Instead of being so quick to make our resolutions, I'd like to encourage you to think for a moment.
Obviously it can't really be Christmas every day, and I'm not suggesting you eat turkey or nut roast and mince pies for all of January but...Over the festive period we are maybe better about spending some time doing things we enjoy. It might be the time when we can give ourselves permission almost to take it a bit easier, have a lie in, or have a day lozzing about. We can cosy up on the sofa with a good book or watch a movie with family and friends. We can go out for a walk. We make time to do things we might not do very often (we always have a new board game on New Year's eve, but it often gets squeezed out of other days). Often, we're able to be a bit kinder to ourselves because 'it is Christmas', and we reconnect with people we have maybe lost touch with. We might even be able to leave our to-do lists to one side for a few days.
Whilst I was pondering this further (and trying to untangle two sets of Christmas tree lights) I thought about how it's not really the end of the story. Whatever you may or may not believe about Jesus, as every parent knows, their child's birthday is just the start of the big adventure. If we see a nativity play we can tend to think with the arrival of numerous angels, shepherds and wise folk, it's all very scenic and happy endings all round. As parents, we might come down to earth with a a bump a few days later after we've given birth and the reality and responsibility hits us. It also struck me about how at the heart of the Christmas story is the sense of what it means to be human and what it means to be in relationship with others. Whether it's a little baby, a teenager or our best mate, how we connect and relate to and with others is so important, and often good and safe connections are what we crave and need in our lives. Here's to hoping we can all build better relationships with others, and ourselves, in the New Year.