Daily Devotion: Putting Away the Holidays

Taking down the Christmas tree is an opportunity to reflect on the blessings of God's love and prepare for His promises of the New Year.

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A set of vintage Christmas ornaments in a box on a wooden table.

To every thing there is a season … a time to keep, and a time to cast away.—Ecclesiastes 3:1

The day that I always wish would never come has arrived. I am “downloading” the Christmas tree. I love putting the decorations on, and I loathe taking them off. But the sanitation service will only collect trees through this week. That means I have a deadline.

An empty box sits on the floor, waiting to hold the ornaments until next season. First, there’s my angel collection. One perches on a red ceramic heart that bears my name. My friend Mary sent it the year I moved away. The handblown indigo glass angel with translucent wings came from our daughter Kelly on the last Christmas before she married. My Montana friend Cathy sent the felt cowgirl angel. The frowning, yellow-painted wooden one was purchased by another friend Mary, who saw me admiring it in an airport gift shop. Mary died just two months ago.

Then there is a cheerful alpine fellow whom Mom brought back from a trip to Germany. The white-threaded alpaca wearing a woven blanket is from Janet, who owns an alpaca farm. A smiling, rosy-cheeked boy wrapped in a knitted muffler and cap stood on our son Phil’s twelfth birthday cake. It has a trace of frosting still stuck to its foot. Our daughter Brenda gave me the pink porcelain fairy rising from a flower after competing at Disney World with her high-school cheerleading team.

Each ornament tells a story; many bring to mind someone dear to us who is no longer nearby. Maybe that’s why I’m sad when it’s time to take down the tree: I feel like I’m packing away my family and friends. I’m a lingerer, but even a lingerer must move ahead. If I don’t, I’ll have no new ornaments to add to my tree, no new stories, no new friends.

Okay, Lord, now that I’m done talking about taking down the Christmas tree, help me to quit dawdling and go do it! New possibilities await!

This devotion is excerpted from Daily Guideposts.

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