~~Do you think it's possible to hang on to the Christmas Spirit once all the wrapping has been pulled off the gifts? When you think if you ever see another piece of candy it will be too soon and the Christmas punch has turned sour. When the thought of another ham sandwich makes you cringe while pizza is sounding like your favorite dish. When the tree starts shedding needles like a dog shaking off raindrops and (this one's the worst of all) the bills start coming in the mail. Christmas is over and we're looking January square in the eye.
~~Ahh January!! A time for looking forward with new hope and plans and determination. And also the time when the Christmas Spirit can slip away from us as we face the grim gray days of winter and wait for the violets to bloom. And yet if we can only carry along a handful or two, maybe even a couple of pinches of that Christmas Spirit that helped you keep smiling even when you had a million things to do and the lines at the grocery store were ten deep at every check-out counter, then the winter days, every day will be brighter.
~~What is Christmas Spirit? Is it two spoons of starlight and a shake or two of angels singing in the night? Is it a cupful of rejoicing and a generous measure of love? Let's throw in several generous measures of love. We need them.
~~The week after Christmas is a good time for those generous measures of love. Especially when bad news seems to keep knocking on our door. That seems to happen often. We get so high up as we anticipate and try to prepare for a perfect Christmas with our families. And of course a perfect Christmas isn't possible. When you look at it, Mary and Joseph probably wouldn't have called that first Christmas in Bethlehem perfect. Far from it. Having to be miles from home just as you're about to have a baby. Sleeping in a manger with the cattle and donkeys. And oh yeah, while you're having a baby. Strangers intruding on your little family circle. Again right after you had a baby and because angels told them to come. How many of us would believe that one? Of course, Mary had an advantage on us there since she'd been visited by one of those angels. And she pondered all those things in her heart.
~~Maybe that's how we can carry forth the Christmas spirit. By pondering in our hearts why we celebrate Christmas. By dwelling on the love that makes Christmas glow. By knowing the Lord will walk with us through the valleys ahead and rejoice with us on all our mountain tops.
~~So take a handful or two of that Christmas spirit and stick it in your pocket to carry into the new year with you so that you can pull out a smidgen now and again to remind yourself of the power of love. John 3:16 - love in its purest form.
~~And if that Christmas spirit leads you to, say a prayer for our little niece, Kaelyn, who was diagnosed with acute leukemia four days before Christmas and is now undergoing aggressive treatment at St. Jude's. She's had a couple of better nights according to her mother. The treatments have been making Kaelyn very sick and also causing her a great deal of pain. So your prayers for her and her family are appreciated and coveted.
~~Thanks for reading. I'm thankful for each and every one of you.