Away, Manger!

Away, Manger!

The Christmas tree finally came down this past Sunday, along with the rest of the decorations that were still up. We tend to be a wait-until-the-last-possible-moment-before-Christmas-to-decorate kind of family; if it weren’t so darn impractical, I’d start to decorate on December 24. Indeed, there were a number of early years in our marriage when we did just that.

Now the decorating begins around Gaudete Sunday, and so it behooves us to leave everything up until the end of the Christmas season, on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. I like the imagery of Jesus being affirmed in his ministry, in his adult mission, as a motif for ending the Christmas season.

The promise of rebirth in baptism softens the blow of packing away the signs of the light and love we have just experienced during the Christmas season.

Although we promise that the newborn babe lives on in our hearts throughout the year, it’s easier to live that in the sparkle and shine of Christmas, rather than the mundane of ordinary time.

Heading home.

There is something comforting, however, in getting back to normal—whatever that may be. In putting away the decorations, I couldn’t help thinking about what had transpired over the four weeks or so since the decorations had gone up: family dinners, a few parties, quiet times for conversation and reading, lots of Christmas music, and a bit of travel. There was also a bout with flu for some of us, talk about particular difficulties and struggles present in our lives now, and disagreements that managed to avoid erupting into major conflicts.

In the process of taking down the decorations, my husband and I rearranged the family room. It wasn’t something we were planning, but just kind of happened. The new arrangement opens up the room, and makes it more inviting. It also allows us to take more advantage of the light from the windows, and the heat from the fireplace when it’s lit.

That little change, the rearranging of furniture, was an apt end to the Christmas season, and a promising start to the season of ordinary time. I look forward to what lies ahead from this day until we come back around to Advent, and the time of preparation for Christmas, once again.

Feature image: Shutterstock/Arhur Marfin

Magi image: Shutterstock/losw

 
 

About the Author

Mary Carol Kendzia is a product development director for Franciscan Media Books. She lives in Rhode Island, where she occasionally dips her toes into the Atlantic and reflects on the mysteries of life, among other things.