But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 (NIV)
Christmas is over, and I am very fat. Please to put some dollars in my bank account. An altered version of that Christmas carol has been going round my head as I began dismantling Christmas this evening. By now, I am usually done as I start the season early so am ready to take it down as soon as the big day is over. But, this year, I am stuck working all day long and only have the evening to pack it all up. The boss above me and the supervisor below me both have small children so it is my lot to stay in the office and hold down the fort while they enjoy some time with their little ones. My big boys are capable of taking care of themselves now, and I had that privilege when I needed it so it is only fair. I was envious when everyone was off to the after Christmas sales while I could only squeak in a few minutes at lunch time. Oh, well. I am completely broke anyway. The outside decorations are packed away as are the ones for the fireplace mantel, top of the china cabinet, one small tree, and a table that I place my collectible sets upon. I have more Hallmark ornaments than one person should be allowed and have this compulsion of putting them back in their original wrappers in their original boxes so it takes a while to get everything put away. I still have two trees to take down and a bunch of nativity scenes to wrap up. I go from one area to the next remembering the circumstances of each ornaments’ purchase and admiring their tiny details. Right now, Amy Grant is singing “A Christmas to Remember” one last time for this year as I match boxes to ornaments and place them inside the large bins where they are sorted by type. Even when I think I am done, in a month or so, I will discover a wreath or a small display tucked away somewhere that I forgot to take down. That is okay as I do love Christmas and the spirit of the season lives in my heart all year long. It is not the lights or the music or the decorations that make Christmas for me, even thought I enjoy them so, but the knowledge of the great gift and sacrifice that Christmas symbolizes. I know I have said it before in this season, but it is almost incomprehensible to me that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would leave His place in Heaven to come to earth, be born in a smelly stable surrounded by animals, and be dependent upon humans to nourish, clothe and even, change his diaper. All so that I could know Him better and have a relationship with God. Amazing. As you pack up Christmas, let that fact carry you through to another year. Like Mary, continue to ponder the Christmas Story in your heart.