This has to be one of my least favorite chores, the taking down of the Christmas decorations. I love having a twinkling garland of lights illuminating my staircase at night, the icicles dangling from the rooftop outside, and the soft glow of the tree in the corner, representing the expectations and hopes of the Advent season. I love looking at our Nativity scene, which brings to life the hopes and expectations of Christians as they wait for the birth of Christ. I find joy in the traditions we follow every year, and looking forward to all the new ones we add along the way. I enjoy receiving cards from all our family and friends, especially the pictures and noticing how much the kids have grown from the last time we saw them. This season is so full of love from beginning to end, and somehow the whole world seems better. When I look at the tree, I am reminded of the new memories we made this season and reminisce. The waiting seemed endless at times and yet, eventually Christmas came like it always does. And then, just as quickly, the joyous season of Our Lord's birth fades into what we liturgically and appropriately call Ordinary Time and we go about packing all the decorations away.
I half-jokingly told my husband I wanted to leave the tree up all year. What if I just didn't take it down? Who cares what the neighbors say. He laughed and then said it might save us the work of pulling it all out again next year. As much as I would like to keep it up all year, I realize that doing that would detract from what makes this time so special in the first place. So we begin the process of taking down and in doing so we restart the clock to wait all over again. That is the beauty of the Liturgy of the Church, with its own rhythm and order, many times reflecting the seasons as they change from one to the next and back again. The cycle that we see echoed in the calendar year and in nature is also present in the Liturgy. It is timeless and beautiful, even in Ordinary time.