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Holding On to Christmas

The twelves days of Christmas have passed, and retailers have quickly moved on to Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, and Easter (April 1). Only a tiny offering of discounted broken and picked over Christmas merchandise remains. As I was removing our lighted nativity set from the front yard yesterday, a neighbor called out, “Leave it till next year.” By the end of the day, though, our block was devoid of lawn decorations with just a few wreaths and window candles remaining. Another dead Christmas tree had been dragged to the curb. Any day now, our city’s festively illuminated downtown  will return to blocks lit by functional street lights alone.

Owners of artificial Christmas trees have been making hard decisions about when to store away their seasonal living room centerpieces. Ours was disassembled and boxed over almost two weeks ago. I’ve been gradually carrying decorations up to the guest room closet, while strategically leaving some in place: the “winter” village that we both love, the whimsical reindeer plates that look so nice with my wallpaper, and the little evergreen tree, now trimmed with Valentines.

In late November, I was reluctant to rush into the season, while in mid January, I’m happily holding on to the holidays. A friend who is still enjoying her Christmas tree was glad to find some decorations in my home today. With the exception of folks who leave trimmings up all year, most of us will soon be ready to move unencumbered toward spring.

Seasonal norms aside, we can still focus on the Christmas experience as more than decorations and delicacies. I smile as I turn on remaining lights, remembering rushing around the house to get them all plugged in before son Kyle arrived on December 21. Seeing those reindeer plates reminds me of the sweet Saturday morning before Christmas when our sons and daughter-in-law each chose a plate for our brunch of S’mores Pancakes* and bacon. And, while we’ve removed Joseph, Mary, and the Baby from our yard, a small nativity set still graces our dining room, bringing to mind the blessing of being back in my childhood church on Christmas Eve, holding my lit candle and singing Silent Night alongside all of my siblings.

December 24 was a snowy night at Emmanuel U.C.C.

The carols have ceased, gifts are being used, and homes are returning to their everyday look. Still, I wonder if the spirit of the season can remain.  I’ve noticed folks at our mall continuing to be friendlier, at least for now. Sadly, we seem to slip back into our more self-absorbed state as the new year grows older, not taking the time to visit friends or to reach out into our communities as often. January newspapers contain pleas from local help agencies that see a surge of goodwill dwindle after Christmas.

People who do believe in God’s gift of peace and goodwill through the coming of Jesus have a responsibility to show love for Him every day by loving our neighbors. I’m one of those people. I pray that even as the last candles are put away, His light will continue to shine through me throughout the year.

My brunch plate – Vixen

*To make S’mores Pancakes, after pouring your pancake batter onto the skillet or griddle, sprinkle some graham cracker crumbs over each pancake. Turn and finish cooking. Remove when cooked and spread some marshmallow cream on the graham cracker side of a pancake. Then place about 8 milk chocolate chips on top and cover with another hot pancake with graham cracker side down for melted goodness.

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Small Things Matter

Sharing some thoughts about a lovely morning that my husband and I experienced three years ago because I didn’t get anything new written this week.

“Sunday Morning Submission”                 Lisa Frisch                            June 22, 2014

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

Here’s what mutual submission looked like in our home and marriage this morning.  My husband and I were sitting at the breakfast table when five “beeps” from the microwave indicated that my tea was ready.  He quickly got up, retrieved my cup for me, and resumed eating his cereal.  Then, while he was in the shower, I noticed that the Sunday newspaper was in the driveway.  Knowing what an important part of his morning the paper is, I went out and got it, took off the bag and rubber band, and laid it on the kitchen table before heading upstairs to get ready for church.  While I was showering, he made our bed, a chore that is mine on weekdays.  As I entered the bedroom, I remembered that he leaves on a business trip tomorrow and asked if he needed any laundry done today.  Never mind that I was glad the answer was “no” since I don’t usually do laundry on Sundays.

Here’s why these small things, done with the other person’s comfort and happiness in mind, are so important.  Having him get my tea for me and make our bed made me feel loved and cared for.  Not having to go out for his newspaper and realizing that I would help him prepare for his trip gave him the assurance that his needs are important to me.  Neither of us demanded or even asked the other to perform these acts.  But, by doing so, we have built a foundation of loving trust that our spouse is looking out for us and wants to add to our contentment.  That becomes very important when any sort of conflict or difficult decision arises.  At that time, each of us can be sure that the other is not only concerned about his/her opinion or desire, but that there is goodwill toward the other and an intention to seek and do what is best for both of us.

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
 Philippians 2:4

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