I put the joy away this weekend. I took down the lights, recycled the tree, and put the joy away. It’s taken a while to get to it. It was looking kind of lonely and out of place, like the last bit of Christmas Joy trying to linger as long as possible. But, it seems that when the curtain falls on Christmas, it’s definitely over. The music, the decorations, the snacks, and certainly the anticipation that builds for weeks (months?), gone with hardly a trace. I have mixed feelings about Christmas, what are we celebrating, what are we really celebrating, and what does it all mean?
Seeing old style lights on a Christmas tree often takes me back to the Christmas tree I would stare at as I wondered about my ten year old world that was about to change dramatically and forever. My siblings and I were to report to the Juvenile Detention Hall right after Christmas and from there we were soon (but temporarily) placed in foster homes.
We had no family specific Christmas traditions growing up. My wife’s family traditions became mine, but looking back, did those vague Christmas traditions begin with us as we had our children? As a kid, Christmas was receiving presents, it was great! Eventually I learned that there really is far more joy in giving than receiving. That is a sweet joy I hope to never put away.
I hope by having our kids and grandson home this year we’ve started (or renewed) a Christmas tradition in my family. I hope to practice that tradition.