Cleaning Up After Christmas

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 ESV).

It never goes up as easy as it comes down. And the process of cleaning up after Christmas never seems to hold as much joy as when we pulled out boxes of Christmas decorations a few short weeks ago. The excitement we felt at the beginning of the season is overtaken with dreaded task at hand. Removing the ornaments from the tree, boxing them up, putting them away, and then taking down the tree itself is often not as much a pleasurable experience as putting them up. For a while it seems like an endless task, gathering items from every room and replacing them back into the “Christmas closet” for another year.

There are a few items that are a part of our Christmas decorations that never get taken down. I’m not sure why that’s true, but they always stay on display. I began to wonder about other items that might not best be left on display. Most of us have a nativity scene as a part of our Christmas décor. I wonder why we should box up a reminder of the most incredible of miracles. Perhaps there are other things that ought to be reminders of the gift of God in Christ we should leave up. Perhaps as you pack your holiday decorations, you should take time to ask God what He would have you show in your home all year. I am sure there will be one special item which is meant to be displayed year round in your home, too… and in your heart.

That certainly is a part of Jesus’ teaching in our reading this morning. We all have been given a gift of life. That gift has turned us into living lights that ought to shine throughout the year, in our homes and in our lives at large. We are the only examples of the character and life of Christ that others may see in the world.

H. Spurgeon said, “A man’s life is always more forcible than his speech. When men take stock of him they reckon his deeds as dollars and his words as pennies. If his life and doctrine disagree the mass of onlookers accept his practice and reject his preaching.” There really is no substitute for a good example! Christmas is over for this year, a New Year is about to dawn. What kind of example will you be? Ask God which of the Christmas “decorations” you need to leave up in your life this year.