By the end of today our Christmas tree and all of the festive decorations will be safely packed away in the attic. The furniture will be moved back into its normal places, and our home will once again look like it does for 10 1/2 months of the year. I’m never really ready to pack up our Christmas decorations. I love the added lights and color they bring to our home. But alas, today is that day, and by tonight, things will be “back to normal.”
As I was thinking about “back to normal” this morning, I told the Lord that I don’t want things to “get back to normal!” I don’t want to forget or ignore the miracles and gifts that have been such a focal part of my life since this fall. Because of writing Keeping Christ AS Christmas, I’ve been in the Christmas mode since September, and I’ve honestly loved every minute of it. I’m not ready to stop keeping Christ AS Christmas…
Then I realized that the Christmas story doesn’t stop with Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in the stable. On the days that followed the birth of Jesus, the Christmas story was very much alive and active in their lives. Jesus ate, slept, and grew. Eventually Mary and Joseph moved out of the stable and into some type of a dwelling in Bethlehem. Their first home. Their first baby. Their first of everything. Their lives were changed forever. And so were ours.
As you are undecorating your house this week, I want to issue you the same challenge that the Lord issued to me this morning: Don’t undecorate your heart. Don’t go back to “life as usual.” Don’t stop dwelling on gratitude for all God has done for you and given to you. Don’t stop letting Jesus be the center and focus of your days. Don’t leave Jesus in that manger in the stable. Ask Him to LIVE and SHINE and INVADE every spot of your life, heart, mind, home, family, sleep, activity, and breath.
Today I”ll pack away the ornaments, lights, bows, and most manger scenes. But I will not pack away Jesus. I will uncheck the Christmas music on my ipod, but I will not remove the Christmas Song Jesus has placed in my heart. The melody of Joy that began on what we call Christmas is the song that will carry me every day of this next year.
I’m asking God to decorate and fill my heart so vividly that even though my house is “back to normal,” my life never will be. Will you join me in undecorating your house, but not your heart?