Updated: Apr 20, 2022
I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life. John 8:12 NASB
We’ve been de-Christmasing for two days now, undecorating and un-lighting our home. It’s always bittersweet and for me, a chore best done swiftly. This year, our youngest, Andrew, had a particularly difficult time with this chore as evidenced by his consistent and heartfelt wailing about each decoration taken down.
“Where my tree go? You took my tree! Where lights? No! Keep lights!” he’d say, and on and on with his little body wracked with sobs and my patience wearing thin explaining why we don’t keep stockings up all year long. Andrew’s two older brothers attempted to explain that Christmas will come again, and told stories of how Christmas decorations just need to sleep. They reveled in their sage wisdom, being now four and six-years-old.
However, it was all for naught. After his nap, Andrew continued to grieve each and every missing piece of décor. In the end, we let him watch a movie so we could get the job done without the mourning of each missing garland of greenery.
I’ll admit it did make me chuckle even as it made me frustrated at the thought of trying to explain the church calendar to my two-year-old. Andrew just doesn’t have the experience to understand time as a concept. I can feel so above him sometimes. I know it will feel like just a few months have passed and we will be hauling out all the decorations again. There is a beauty to the changing of the seasons, the way our routines and rituals are almost pleasantly forced to mold around them. Christmas will come again.
But am I that much more sophisticated than Andrew? Don’t I also feel a letdown after the holidays? Don’t I also struggle with the thought that we have practically alllll of winter still to get through? The difference, supposedly, is that I am able to understand that yes, we are celebrating the birth of one who is also here with us. Christ has gone, and yet will come back again. His Spirit is within me and yet I eagerly anticipate His return. Hmm. Maybe I’m not so clever.
In our undecorated house, the most glaring absence is the open space where a Christmas tree once stood. And perhaps just as glaring, the absence of the warm glow of lights throughout the house, neighborhood and city. I will get used to the increased darkness, as I do every year. But there’s truly a stark contrast between the widespread celebration of Christmas expressed through lights, and the return to normal life – school, work, daily chores that weren’t as important just a week ago.
Christ has been born! And we go back to life as normal? I can relate to Andrew more than I thought. It doesn’t really make much sense.
What’s my message? It’s not a “let’s keep Christmas in our hearts all the year long” piece of Charles Dickens encouragement. It’s a long way to ask a crucial question – have we not been changed? When the Light of the World was born on earth, did that not completely and inexplicably light up the whole very purpose of our days?
As we studied two months ago, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.” Matthew 5:14-15. A more seasonally apt way to say this might be, “You are the light of the world because I am the Light born for you. Turn off your artificial lights so you can see the brightness of My glory.”
Christmas is over, but perhaps it is just beginning again.
I’ll leave you with these now familiar words. I want you to picture blowing out a candle and watching the smoke wisp into the air…..the light is not gone, it has just changed. It’s getting thinner and thinner and is now closer to you than you can even imagine…