Christmas and New Years have come and gone. Decoration and ornament boxes sit next to our still decorated Christmas tree, waiting to be filled and put under the stairs closet until next year. Cookies and other leftovers still need to be eaten before tomorrow’s diet starts, as we slowly get back to our routines after a nice, long break.
As I look at our Christmas tree, I think about how much life will happen between now and the next time we bring out our Christmas decorations. In a few hours, I will carefully wrap our delicate ornaments in tissue paper, tucking them away until next time. In November, I will just as carefully unwrap those ornaments, excited to see which ornament await below the layers of paper, just as we anticipate what each day of 2018 will bring, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us:
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.”
2017 was a season filled with many of these activities. Last year when I packed up our Christmas decorations, I didn’t know it would be our daughter’s last Christmas at home. I didn’t know it would be my beloved Grandma’s last Christmas on this side of Heaven. I didn’t know we would welcome a son in law who we love so much, that we would get a puppy, or that we would experience many other trials and blessings. Great loss, devastation, heartbreak like never before, blessings-too many to count, endless laughter, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, precious moments with loved ones, treasured new memories, the gift of new friends, the gift of old friends, new opportunities, healing and overcoming, and so much more.
As I pack up our Christmas decorations today, I will treasure these things in my heart and trust God with all the life that will happen between now and the next time I open our Christmas decorations.