The foyer staircase is about to lose its holiday gleam. The mantle, too. And I don’t want to even think about how dull the “Christmas tree” corner of our family room is about to become.
Yes, today’s the day the decorations are slated to come down at our house – and then packed away until (God willing) another Advent & Christmas season arrives to remind us of our intimately-close connection with the divine.
Some might find it scandalous that it’s taken this long for us to start “putting Christmas away.” Different strokes for different folks, I guess. But if you take a quick peek at the calendar, you’ll discover that the Twelve Days of Christmas ended just this past Thursday. Factor in my current lifestyle and mindset – based on the retiree’s schedule, preferring to have no more than one or two activities slated for any given day – and I’m actually fairly pleased to report that we’re taking on the dreary season-ending project this quickly.
Everything in its place, my friend, and all in good time.
Nor, I’ve noticed, are we the only ones in the neighborhood to have extended our display of holiday décor just a smidge into Ordinary Time. It’s true at our parish church, too, where the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is being celebrated with all the colorful pomp and splendor of Christmas.
As it happens, there’s a coincidental tie between the two liturgical celebrations in our worship space this year. Our baptismal font is currently out-of-commission, awaiting a rebuild to repair a persistent leak. So for the time being, the font has been repurposed to provide a stage for the parish nativity scene.
Father mentioned this oddity in his homily – noting that it’s worth contemplating how, when the crèche is soon put away, that action will make way for the waters of baptism to flow once again in our lives.
The grace of baptism is already there, of course, at least for most of us. But isn’t it odd how rarely we seek to tap into it? It’s almost like we tend to tuck it away, a bright and gleaming decoration reserved for special occasions.
This is not at all what God seems to intend for the graces of baptism, though, is it?
Descending into the waters, we are called to die and rise in Christ.
We are called to get back in the flow, as it were, and treasure every day – all throughout Ordinary Time – the Voice from heaven that proclaims,
“You are my beloved [Child];
with you I am well pleased.”
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.
Today I also start, somewhat in earnest, to bring down the Christmas décor.
The Magi have finished their Westward trek around my Livingroom.
One of the camels may have come from our travel to the Holy Land.
So many of the places we visited give a new meaning to the Gospel readings.