The Pastor’s Corner
“What do we do with the decorations?”
This last week saw a lot of packing! The beautiful decorations in our sanctuary have all been packed away. The greenery, the banners, the candles, and yes, our new Poinsettias (a gift through The Celebration of Crèches!). It all seems so bare now. We love our sanctuary, but something just seems to be missing.
So, are there things we don’t pack away after Christmas? I don’t mean the one forgotten or overlooked decoration that we discover in July! Maybe we should look at what we don’t pack away.
Hope should never get packed away with the decorations. In the midst of everyday life – challenges and triumphs – hope is the great leveler of uneven ground. As Psalm 23 says, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.” Hope is our secret weapon throughout the year.
We don’t pack away our longing for peace and the peace that is represented in the idyllic picture of the Holy Family in the stable. The Prince of Peace came on that night in a humble stable in order to announce his power to bring peace to our hearts and lives. We know that ultimately Jesus will establish a total reign of peace and so we live in it and anticipate that peace every day.
We don’t pack away the joy that came with the birth of Jesus Christ. The angel’s joyous song should never be silenced. Oh, we won’t be singing “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” anytime soon, but the joy of that song should be present all through the year. The sheer joy of the shepherds, as the found the baby Jesus just as they had been told, should last a lifetime! Don’t pack away joy just because the season is over.
We cannot pack away the love of God represented in Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus said, in the Gospel of John, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have everlasting life.” God’s love cannot be packed away, but we can turn our lives and focus away from God’s love. I pray we will fully embrace God’s love throughout the year, allowing it to guide our steps and bless our lives. May it live in us so we can bless others with His love.
And, finally, the light of life, Jesus Christ, can never be extinguished. John affirms that when he says, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” But then he said, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Out of the assurance that we will never walk in darkness, even though the world can be awfully dark at times, we are invited to shine that light every day in every way.
Let’s recognize what of Christmas we keep out all year and celebrate God’s amazing presence in our lives – daily!