I hate taking down Christmas. I'm always in such a whirl that I don't really have time to just sit back and enjoy the "pretty" until after Christmas is over. Usually the tree comes down before New Year's Day but this year we had beautiful snow the first few days of the year and it looked like an extended CHristmas card so we left things a little longer. It was so nice in the sunroom, sitting by the crackling fire, watching the birds and squirrels putting on an exhibition just outside the big windows at the feeders, our two cats snoozing nearby. Putting up the tree is a family affair. We have some old ornaments --- like me, dulled and scarred and scratched a bit with time, (some older than our 52 year-old marriage.) but they are precious to us. They take honored spots among all the rest and always as they are hung, someone will say,"Do you remember....?" and we are off on a journey down Memory Lane.
At night the lighted tree is reflected in the surrounding windows till it looks like a forest of Christmas trees are standing in our yard and Fortitude, the huge lighted cedar, towers above everything . How pleasant it is to just sit quietly and soak up the beauty, listening to the last carols of the year.
Unwanted, the thought comes to mind, "What changes will take place by this time next year?" The old year has gone and we are already more than a week into the New Year. We face new hopes, joys, dreams, challenges, opportunities. new friends and acquaintances. There will also be new responsibilities, fears, burdens, trials, sorrows, griefs, heartaches and pain, loss and disappointments. There will be the bitter and the sweet...of such is Life. We will be able to deal with most things in an acceptable manner, but what about those really difficult times we cannot foresee? There is an old song titled "I Choose Jesus" and a line goes, .."choose Him in the sunshine hour: choose Him when the storm clouds lower........If we choose NOW to make Him Lord of this fresh, new year (and every year) He will help us make the wise, the good, the loving choices. He will give us His strength, wisdom, courage and comfort for the trying times. He will give us His joy, His peace, His gladness and His grace for the happy times as well. He will never leave us alone. He goes before us leading and guiding us each day. He will teach us with His Word. He will meet and commune with us in prayer. He will "grow us up" to be more and more like Himself.
There need be no fear as we step forth into this year with confidence, our hand held securely in His Loving nail-scarred Hand. Our Shepherd knows the way to lead His flock safely Home.