Where did Christmas go?

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It’s over … 

The stockings have been hung by the chimney with care … and have been emptied by eager little hands.

The tree is now sadly drooping and is sending ornaments to the floor below its formerly festive branches where presents used to abound.

I don’t even want to get on the scale. 

The cards have been opened and most have found their way into the trash receptacle. 

Even Aunt Marie’s fruitcake has disappeared … not sure if it has been thrown away or was devoured by some desperate soul.

One more holiday season has passed and I have yet to taste wassail. What is wassail, anyway?

The resounding glory of Christmas music is now only a distant echo.

Where did Christmas go?  

Must I really focus on New Year’s resolutions and on the dark, cold days of January?

Must I actually pay those Christmas bills … deal with the loneliness of the bleak mid-winter … and take the garland off the mantel?

Must I?

Must I pack away the yuletide spirit along with the decorations that have adorned every home we have ever lived in?

You see … another Christmas has come and gone and I find that I have left my heart in December.

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However … this is what I must convince myself to do …

I must stir up the gumption to face the uncertain days of a New Year with the left-overs of the holiday spirit that accompanies the 12th month of the year.

I must resolve to live wholeheartedly engaged in the delight of having been given 365 brand new shiny days to invest in a future that is mine … all mine.

I must determine that I will put one foot in front of the other and declare the joy of living in His presence even when my emotions are crying out in loneliness and in discouragement.

I must be “all in” to loving others … to encouraging the downtrodden … to praying without ceasing … to singing in the storm … to choosing health over an undisciplined lifestyle … to exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit to fractious and difficult people … to waiting well for all that God has for me.

I must choose to walk through life with a spring in my step and with sparkle in my eyes.

I must. 

What must you do?

There is a melancholy but hopeful little song that has often whispered its sweet melody in the corners of my heart throughout the waning days of December. 

The lyrics of this timeless tune have convinced me time after time … season after season … and decade after decade … that Christmas will indeed wield its eternal authority during March … and August … and October. 

Do you know this song? 

The title is, appropriately enough, “Till the Season Comes ‘Round Again.”

Come and gather around at the table
In the spirit of family and friends
And we'll all join hands and remember this moment
'Til the season comes 'round again.

Let's all try to smile for the picture
And we'll hold it as long as we can
May it carry us through
Should we ever get lonely
'Til the season comes 'round again. 

One night holy and bright
Shining with love from our hearts
By a warm fire
Let's left our heads high
And be thankful we're here
'Til this time next year.

May the new year be blessed
With good tidings
'Til the next time I see you again
If we must say goodbye
Let the spirit go with you
'Til the season comes 'round again.

 

You see… Christmas will surely come around again.  As sure as there are evergreen trees in Vermont … as sure as there is Christmas music waiting to pop out of its 11 month storage … and as sure as Aunt Marie’s fruitcake weights down the holiday table …

Christmas will come around again … and again … and again.

As sure as there are people who are walking in darkness … 

            As sure as there is a manger waiting expectantly …  

As certain as there are angels that sing and stars that shine in the dark, cold sky … 

            Christmas will spring eternal in the hearts of all who seek Him.

You see, my friends, we are a Christmas people.  We are a people whose lives have been forever changed by the Baby Boy. 

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We have not changed Him … He has changed us. 

We have heard the song of the angels and we have not only listened … we have joined in the chorus.

We have watched in wonder as the wisest men of history have bowed in adoration … and we have bowed with them.

We have told the same story time after time that the shepherds were compelled to tell that not so silent night. 

We have experienced the joy of His presence … the peace of His victory … and the blessings of His ways. 

We are a Christmas people and nothing will ever be the same for us ever again.

Although over the next few days I might be packing away the visual remnants of the holiday season … what remains of Christmas in me is undeniably permanent.

Although December is quickly drawing to its expected conclusion … Christmas will never really be over … as long as there remains a Christmas people. 

The world will continue to rejoice and my heart will perpetually soar with the joy of this unmatchable season! 

It’s not over … and it never will be!

Christmas will always live in me! 

Thanks for listening to my heart this week.  As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me.  And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!