“Until next year Jesus”

“Until next year Jesus”

Sometime after Christmas, I started ‘de-Christmas-ing’. First the decorations came down off the tree, then the holiday and Christmas tchotchke items. One by one, the items came down and were carefully packed away in their appropriate totes and boxes. 

Time came for the ceramic nativity that my grandmother painted several years ago. As I wrapped each separate item in what were random sheets of newspaper, I placed them carefully in the container so they wouldn’t bump against each other and risk breaking. 

Then it came time to wrap the baby Jesus up. As I wrapped him up, I thought to myself “until next year Jesus.”

Well… that’s a striking thought, isn’t it? Realizing the audacity of that statement, it occurred to me that many people will have packed up their Christmas decorations over the past several weeks with a ‘good riddance’ feel as it appears that everyone has been ready to put this past year behind us. And now, with Lent literally around the corner, Christmas will be a thing of the past as well … until next year.

The truth is, we like to skip from Christmas right to Easter … and then from Easter to Christmas and the cycle continues. This made me wonder … how many people have done just this? Packed up their Christmas decorations, their nativities and said ‘until next year’ only to literally mean it and not engage in any thoughts about Christmas until later this year when it’s time to decorate, kind of like an out of sight, out of mind type of thing?

I know this is a late thought and reflection as we have just wrapped up the epiphany season, but the reality is that some folks are just now packing up their Christmas decorations and nativity sets.

We are reminded throughout scripture to remain rooted and grounded in Christ…always. The Apostle Paul in the third chapter of his letter to the church in Colossae writes the following…

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I wonder, how might you remain grounded and rooted in Christ’s love and transforming work in your life throughout this entire year? How will you be able to lean and live into love of Christ each day, so that at the end of the year you won’t be pulling out the nativity set from the box and greet Jesus like a long lost friend, but rather someone you’ve experienced each day of the year?

May we all remain engaged, connected and welcome each day welcoming Jesus to journey with us as we go.

grace and peace of Christ be with you today and always,

~Pastor Kendra

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