by Mare Ball
Two days after Christmas, I'm wading through a pile of laundry that is about as tall as I am. I didn't do any laundry this week because...well, you know, it was Christmas week and so many things had to be baked and cooked and wrapped and delivered. It completely left my mind that we would eventually need underwear.
It always takes me a day or two to get back into my normal (a relative term) routine after Christmas. I just want to drink cocoa and nap and watch old Christmas movies. I want our grown kids to stay longer, and I want to have food delivered, so we don't have to cook. I want elves to come by and clean up the holiday aftermath and dust. I just need a day or two longer to soak it in. There's this month of preparation...and then, boom...it's all over.
I love the glow of the holidays. I love the kindness of spirit most people exhibit. I love the hugs from family and friends, the piles of decorated cookies, the smell of pine and nutmeg. We all work so hard and invest so much to make Christmas special and meaningful. And when it's over, we slip right back into griping and being impatient. (I should speak for myself here.)
Christmas, for me, is small glimpse of heaven. People are thoughtful and giving. Artists on the radio sing about silver bells and Mary's sweet baby. The night sparkles with white lights. Ebeneezer Scrooge has a change of heart. The Grinch has a change of heart. Christmas comes to Whoville with nary a present.
The natural let down that comes after Christmas stems from my longing for heaven. Which I do, often. I look forward to the day when the suffering of this world ends, when the healing hand of God sets things right. The sweet carols that play during Christmas service remind me that we have a mighty God who was brave enough and sacrificial enough to step into human flesh and walk this dirty earth as we do. What an enormous gift, one too marvelous and sacred to fully comprehend. At Christmastime, when we pause to remember this precious baby born in a cold stable to an unwed, teenage mom...my heart is so warmed with the desire to be in the full presence of the King.
And then, the next day...there's all this laundry.
I know there are blessings in this life too. I appreciate the gifts I have. But that glimpse of heaven...I'm so grateful my heavenly Father eases His way deeper into my heart in such a tender, sparkly way every year. He's really giving me something to look forward to.