The Christmas season is coming to a close as we near the Epiphany. All of those Christmas preparations and visits, choir concerts and plays, parties and church services are over. The cookie supplies are running low, the tree is drying out, the new toys have lost their appeal, the stores already have their Valentine things on display, and the radio stations no longer play Christmas songs.
At our house we dread taking down the Christmas decorations because everything just looks so barren and boring without them. We love the festive reminders of our Christ’s birth both at home and in public: the memories of past Christmases displayed in our ornaments and Santa photos as well as seeing people out with their Christmas sweaters and earrings on. It becomes an easy way to spread the Good News when talk of Christmas is all around us during the month of December.
Yet now that we are in January, talk of Christmas is old news — in public, at least. For Christians, however, Advent is about preparing not just for the anniversary of Jesus’ birth, but also for the second coming of Christ as well. So we all know how important it is to keep up the spirit of Christmas long after the cookies are gone and the stations quit playing holiday tunes. It’s important to stay alert and continue to be kind to others. It’s so very important to continue growing closer to God, especially now that the reminders are being put away. God’s presence was especially apparent in the nativity scenes and church services, but He is also just as present in our everyday normal lives in January.
God desires that we seek Him, trust Him and obey Him every day, not just on Christmas and Easter. That means daily prayer, Masses, Scripture reflection, frequent Reconciliation and Adoration, among other ways of enriching our growth. In return God blesses us abundantly every day in many big and small ways.
This is the time to start new habits and break bad ones.
Find a new spiritual book to read, begin a gratitude journal or Bible verse notebook, subscribe to a daily Catholic devotion online, or try any of the ideas mentioned above that aren’t already good habits. Likewise, try to stop gossiping, complaining, or procrastinating when it comes to exercise, prayer time or completing projects. Think of one other bad habit you’d like to focus on changing and set an alert in your phone to remind you once a day about it.
Whatever helps to keep that Christmas joy in your homes as well as out and about is worthwhile. Consider leaving out a small nativity set for another month as a reminder. Find ways to mention what it means to have Jesus in your life to anyone you can, to keep that Christmas spirit alive. Continue to reach out to those less fortunate or lonely long after Advent ends to make this world a happier place. This new year, may you serve as a reminder to all that God is good and full of grace, hope, mercy, and love for everyone.
Copyright 2019 Colleen Mallette