Last year my neighbor took down his Christmas decorations by nightfall Christmas day. By the morning his tree was at the curb with the trash.
This year wasn’t much different. But that’s okay.
The stores are discounting their leftover Christmas items to make room on the shelves for Valentine’s Day. The radio stopped playing Christmas music days ago and all around the city decorations come down. One by one the houses on my street are quickly going dark. Mine is still ablaze with light.
And that’s okay, too.
Do I mind being the only house around for blocks whose lights and Christmas creche remain in sight well past New Year’s Day? Nope, not one bit. A still-lit house may not be an odd sight in more predominantly Catholic parts of the country, but here in the South it can seem quite unusual, even eccentric.
But again, I don’t mind. I don’t mind being the only house that illuminates the night. I hope I may also be the neighbor who bears light in other ways.
This Christmas, dear readers, my advice to you all is to be that light — “let it shine before men…” (Matt 5:16), faithful, visible, and constant, before a world that tells us to keep moving on to the next big thing, the next big marketing project meant to steer you where others want you to go.
Stand still for a while, in the light, and be counter-cultural, signalling to the world that you won’t be rushed — that it is okay to stay, for a while, with the Infant Christ — to keep Christmas til Candlemas!
I understand it may be hard as we return to work and the children head to school, but at least leave your homes as sanctuaries wherein the lamps still burn. By its sanctuary lamps the Church announces the presence of Christ in the tabernacle; so let your homes announce the Christ Child still present among us. Here are some ideas about how to do that:
- Try to visit a different church each day during Christmastide and pray the Litany of the Infant Jesus before the creche.
- If you can’t make daily Mass, make a point of reading the daily lectionary, which contains so much beauty. Or pray Morning and Evening prayers, right here at Aleteia.
- Continue playing your Christmas playlists and watching great Christmas classic movies.
- Keep the spirit alive in your interactions with others; keep saying “Merry Christmas” — not in defiance, but with sincere joy.
- Ask your Guardian Angel to nudge you closer to the manger when you are tempted to get caught up in the “business as usual” mindset that can attach itself to us, so easily.
- Be kind and generous in temperament and deed to your family, your co-workers, and especially those you encounter online.
For the love of the Infant Jesus do these small things with great love, and may the light of Christmas burn bright in your heart, throughout the season, and beyond..
Revel in the season and savor each wonderful day. I wish you a merry, warm, blessed, long and lustrous Christmas.