The Christmas season is an emotional one. It is full of exciting and bright promises wrapped up in combinations of colorful magic. Yet, it also brings echoes of loneliness and pangs of nostalgia.
I experience a tumble of both. The child near the surface of me delights in the sparkles and embraces every reflected glow. But, the old soul in the deepest depths remembers … she remembers those long gone, those that are far away, those nearby but indifferent and then a moody melancholy mixes with the exuberant child producing an exhausting emotional season.
The Christmas season is over and the New Year is upon us. I realize I’m stating the obvious but sometimes the obvious stares us in the face and for reasons we don’t readily want to admit to, we avoid eye contact with it. I’ve chosen not to look away. I’m staring it right in the eye and I won’t be the first to blink.
So, today, I took down the Christmas tree.
As each ornament was carefully packed away and safely stored for next Christmas, I listened for the child and for the old soul and neither was present. The middle aged me was there, stoically embracing the reality that is was time. Time to move on.
Here are 3 reasons why taking down your Christmas tree early will help you focus, and focus is a good way to start the year:
- The season is over. As the year progresses there will be other seasons. Learning to recognize the rhythm of our year – embracing each up and holding on tight with each down – brings a maturity that keeps our feet on solid ground. Let’s not hold on to seasons past. They merely collect dust and serve to irritate us.
- Rituals help us focus. Packing this season away is a kindness we extend to ourselves. As we carefully wrap the ornaments we are in a way preparing for next Christmas season. This ritual speaks of new beginnings as well as promises the continued tradition of old ones. Little rituals are good for us – which is why the bible is full of them. They teach us and provoke us and remind us and are just plain good for us.
- It makes place for the familiar or for the new. The empty space the tree leaves behind is waiting for the new. It is a good time to organize and plan. Or maybe we merely refill that space with the familiar and the routine. I have a chair that makes way for the tree each year. I’m not sure why but I feel centered and content when the chair goes back where it belongs.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven …” Ecclesiastes 3: 1