I came home Sunday evening to a cold, dark house and quickly carried in the weekend’s plunder of frames and slippers and bags of chocolate. Within hours, I would be back at work and life would carry on and Christmas 2010 would be a memory. And though part of me longed to have just one more day of this blessed season, I knew I had to let it go.
The story doesn’t end with Christmas.
The Babe in the manger, the shepherds watching, the angels singing, the mother treasuring: they lead somewhere. And it’s not the North Pole.
As I began unpacking last night, dumping laundry into the hamper, finding a place for what is new, I also went about warming and lighting the house: first, turning up the furnace, then, plugging in the Christmas tree, finally, lighting candles.
I lit the candles in the jars, the ones that would make my house smell like cinnamon, and I lit the candle on the dining room table, the one that casts dancing shadows all around. But when I stopped at the Advent wreath, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t light those candles of waiting one more time.
Instead, I lit only the Christ candle, because though I know the waiting isn’t finished, last night I just needed to be reminded that he has already come. And that He is with me even now.
We all feel it, don’t we? The tug of the holidays, that tension between what is and what’s yet to come, the reminder of the reality we tried to suspend during the holy, twinkling days of Christmas.
So, we keep moving forward, keep playing out the seasons, keep remembering and anticipating Jesus.
And we keep doing it together.
I found myself stumbling over these same bitter sweet thoughts all over the blogosphere today. We all feel it, don’t we?
Billy Coffey’s Hearing the Bell