Yes, I said Christmas. Yes, I'm aware it's February 1. See my first point in the list.
I love how God teaches us things - both important and vital to life in relationship with others, and completely random things that just make life fun and interesting.
Here's what I learned this past Christmas...
1. As quickly as Christmas goes up, it comes down. We decorated approximately a week before Christmas this year (pretty late for what I'd like). The decorations came down the last two days of January. The tree is still standing, undecorated, in the dining room. I'm not one to get the stuff up the day after Thanksgiving, so it stays up a little (or a lot) longer than most.
2. Some things just become fixtures in our lives, if we let them. Why is our Christmas tree still up? For me, at least, it just becomes part of the home decor after while. I almost don't even notice it's there. Around the middle of January I unplugged the timer for the lights so they wouldn't turn on and we wouldn't be the weird neighbors with their Christmas stuff still up. I did the same with the garland and lights hanging on our front porch (because if you unplug the lights, maybe people won't notice the green garland hanging from your white porch in mid-January...) Here's my theological point for this post - it's not just material things that become fixtures in our lives. Left unchecked, sin and its behavior can just as easily become more and more permanent. That pet sin you just can't seem to get over keeps sneaking its way into your life until it's there so often you almost done even notice it anymore. Then, when you do remember it's there, you try to hide it, since now it's going to take some work and effort to push it out of your life. Let's face it, Christmas boxes don't just walk up from the basement on their own, and sin won't just leave your life either. We can praise God for His grace and mercy, love and forgiveness. No matter how long that sin hangs around, there's a way to get it out of your life, and the Way hung on a cross to take it away for you. I encourage you to identify that sin in your life and take it to Christ, so He can take it away. He'll replace it with even greater things - that new life in Him is calling your name!
3. Masking tape will peel paint off the wall. Whoops. Sorry, honey.
4. Two people can, indeed, eat an entire roll of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in one sitting. And it's delicious. And we'll likely do it again.
5. You can write a really fun Christmas letter, but it doesn't help if your printer isn't installed on your new computer, leaving said letter stranded in Word. We might make it a Valentine letter, for those friends and family who were expecting a Christmas at letter, you know, at Christmastime.
6. Changing traditions is incredibly hard, but it can be done. Some things changed a bit this year for us. Some changes I struggled with more than others. What can I say, I'm Lutheran! But, when changing up how some things are done makes family life a little easier, those things are okay. Our extended families decided to cut back on how much we spent on Christmas gifts, which was really difficult for me, but was definitely worth it in the end. The time we all spend together is much more important anyway.
7. Things don't always go the way you plan. My husband wound up working Christmas. He had just come home from a two month stint on the other side of the country for work a couple weeks prior to Christmas, then ended up at work for much of the actual holiday. As low man on the totem pole, he gets to work a lot of holidays. Not ideal for his traditional wife who likes to have things go "perfectly". But, God is teaching me patience with his job and gratitude for how he's (and He's) providing for our family. My husband is amazing - being a hard-working provider is just part of him.