Now that the old year has shuffled 'round the corner,
and the new is just past a week young,
with the Magi finished visiting, and their faces turned homeward,
it is high time to pack away the vestiges of Christmas.
Empty boxes sit by tree stump, waiting to be filled with baubles,
bells, a replica Empire State Building, strings of light.
Colours of gold, purple, green - royalty, deity, life;
colourless white - purity.
I am slow in putting away the season of incarnation -
of Word made flesh and blood.
Unintentional lingering due to other calls on time.
Perhaps a subtle reminder that the message
of the child in the manger is one that can't be packed away -
that the work now begins, rather than finishes.
I'm minded of words uttered by the great American preacher Howard Thurman -
a chap who had a profound influence on Martin Luther King Jr.:
"When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart."
In the morning, before I dig the car out of the snow and head out
to visit folk, boxes containing Christmas will go back into hiding in the storage cupboard.
The message of new life, joy, liberation, and good news for all however, remains uncontained.