There is a certain sadness associated with taking down the Christmas tree. And yet, if you wait until the first week in January, when the children have gone, there is also a sense of “It’s time.” Time to put on a favourite Christmas CD and turn the volume up and listen to Jacob Moon’s jazzy but haunting arrangement of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and breathe in the rich instrumentation and rhythms while taking down the decorations one by one, feeling grateful for each magical memory, one… by one…
Our decorations are not a matching set. They are all unique characters with a history. There is the dough art angel our son, Denver, made in kindergarten. It has a hole punched through its head (he had to put the string through somewhere!), so it looks like a white cyclops with wings. I laugh every time I put it up and every time I take it down. There are the Santa and Mrs. Claus ornaments in their wooden sleighs that our daughter, Jessie, loves so much because we’ve had them ever since she can remember. And the beautiful fragile Christmas balls with their own special storage boxes my husband, Terry, has bought for the children over the years. We love the Christmas angel our friend, Ardella, made for the top of the tree. One year, we couldn’t find it, so Denver made one out of kleenex and twist ties. It looked pretty good! We even have two little Christmas helicopters made by Terry’s mom years ago that usually hover near the bottom just above the presents.
Yes, it’s time. Time to put it all back in the boxes and the Christmas chest from whence it came. And yet, after I get it all put away, there is always, every year, at least one ornament or candle wreath or Santa hat or blinking Rudolf nose that hides from me, like a child that isn’t quite ready to go to bed yet.
I feel ready for 2017 now, ready to be creative and productive, ready to make some changes in my life – one small choice, one seemingly insignificant habit at a time. Ready to make plans yet remain flexible and open to opportunities. Ready to breathe in the present moment, pray for peace, and give thanks to the Creator of life and love.
(The feature image for this post was created by setting a long exposure and drawing a treble clef with my camera pointed at the lights on the Christmas tree and a candle on top of our stereo speaker. It took a few tries to get it right. I think perhaps I was procrastinating taking down the tree. It was all so beautiful, I had to first play with creating a memory so I could sigh a happy/sad sigh and move on to creating new ones.)