Christmas is over now . . . or is it? On the day after Christmas, I turned on the radio to a station that had been playing nothing but Christmas music since Thanksgiving. There were no more carols. With temperatures near 65° F today, I expect that many will use this brief respite from Winter to remove their outdoor decorations. The struggle at our home on the day after Christmas is to get all the gifts put away—not to abolish all signs of the holiday (the decorations stay up!), but rather to allow us to walk through the house without stepping on things not meant to be stepped on and to allow the baby to play on the floor without us having to constantly check whether she’s sticking tiny little toy pieces in her mouth. The clutter raises our stress level more than anything!
And yet, thankfully, there are signs that the holiday continues. The kids will still be home from school next week. The week between Christmas and New Years Day (The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, if you prefer) is always just a little more relaxed, and another extended weekend adds to the holiday feel. Breakfast will include waffles on the new waffle iron, and the kids (especially nine year-old Catherine) will bombard us with steady requests to play family games, half of which unfortunately end in sibling squabbles which leave me grinding my teeth or worse.
And there are hopeful signs outside of our own home. Although the all-Christmas station has returned to their usual fare, I was still able to catch some carols on the country music station out of Dayton. When my daughter Erin was born on January 5th six years ago, I remember seeing a Nativity scene on display at the nurses’ station and giving thanks that someone there understood the season. [UPDATE: There goes my memory again. It seems that Erin was born on the 10th of January rather than the 5th, which means that the Nativity scene at the nurses' station was still up a few days after Epiphany.]
Christmas continues. May the joy of the season when angels proclaimed peace on earth and goodwill to men find a home in our hearts.