This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!
This isn’t just a cutsie post about how I took a little while after the holidays to find my regularly scheduled rhythm. This is a post about how mid-winter, when the holiday rush is done, but spring has yet to begin, there is a slump. I don’t just mean in the school year (though as a former teacher, I know that is REAL) or the weather (also stupidly cold) but just in life in general. Coming down off a joyous season of celebration, family, friends, and the Lord’s goodness, I’m experiencing sadness – a bit of a Christmas hangover, if you will.
I was chatting with a friend a few days ago about how much more difficult it is to put Christmas decorations away than it is to get them out. You’d think it would be the same amount of work, and it might actually be. But it’s much harder to put them away because you’re just packing away sparkly, festive happiness. I mean, who wouldn’t be a little bummed about that? Have lots of parties, listen to happy music, see everything shining and twinkling, and then all of a sudden, pack all the joy away and return to the dead of winter? Ugh. Hubby ended up putting away the last of our decorations, with the help of his mom, one day while I was out. I had gotten halfway done, and just… couldn’t finish. Boxes and packing paper were strewn about, the tree was mostly devoid of ornaments but not totally. It just felt sad every time I thought about getting everything packed away, and I’ll be totally honest… I’d been using the still-lit tree as a nightlight.
So naturally, I’ve been dragging myself, slowly but surely, out of said slump. I’ve been trying to jazz myself up by making some fun plans for the kids and I to enjoy. I’m trying to not feel as though the winter has already peaked.
And then yesterday morning, a Sunday, when I got out of bed – at the 9th snooze – there was the most perfect distinct g of snow on the ground. My daughter – from window to window, with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning. I had forgotten what a few snow flurries will do for a child. The joy was tangible. It spread from person to person, until everyone in the house was so excited, we had to ask whether church was canceled, in case we could go outside to play. The contagious excitement and healing laughter jerked me right out of my emotional recession and into a renewed inflation of joy.
What if the joy of the Lord could spread like that? Just a little, from person to person to person… brightening her day here and calming his fears there. What if you let the little things fill you up with unspeakable joy that others could witness in your very countenance? Let the childlike faith overcome you and your post-holiday slump, and keep the joy in your everyday life, mundane tasks, and passive interactions with others. How many lives could you change? How might you entertain angels unawares? How often would you welcome the stranger that might just be Jesus?