Christmas is done. I packed the last of it away this afternoon. The tree, the ornaments, the lights, the wreath on the door. But Christmas is so much more than the decorations. Christmas is a celebration. A season of giving, and the best gift is Jesus.
When my kids saw me putting stuff away, they got sad. One said, "I'm not done looking at it." I know how they feel. I love Christmas. But that's a good reason to put up my decorations in November so we can look at them for more than just the Christmas break. But then I said, "It's time to get on with the New Year." To that my child replied, "Well, Easter's coming!" That is something to be thankful all over again for! Easter is coming... what started at Christmas with a baby in a manger was completed at Easter with the Risen King!
We were away for the week after Christmas, so my decorations sat here unappreciated for 8 whole days. That justified it for me - I left them up until last night! This morning, the kids woke up to piles. Lots of them. I had sorted ornaments, and disembranched our tree (I know that's not a word, but you get the idea!).
But... I had to wait to put them away. My set wasn't complete. I have enough decorations, but every year, my collection grows by at least one thing. For the last 10 years, I have been collecting special little men. They tell a story and I love how they look on my piano. This year, I looked for a Nutcracker to complete my set for 2010, and I could not find one. I only started my search long after Christmas was over, because while we were on holidays I only looked in one store.
After searching through the Christmas clearance tables at 3 different stores, I ran into a relative in the parking lot. I told her what I was looking for, and she said, "Oh! Last night, I saw Nutcrackers at Home Outfitters for 70% off." I ran back to the truck and headed over to that store... I found him. He was the last one of his kind. I got him for about $4.00. This was my only Christmas decoration purchase for myself this year. The only one. I don't think that's happened before!
Here he is.....
I now have 13 Nutcrackers.