It’s time to haul off the holly. Drag it down. Pack it up. Store it away for another year.
The season of joy is over….or is it? We finish celebrating the Christmas season and ring in the New Year with revelry or just a quiet, contemplative evening at home. And then when New Year’s Day arrives, we clean it all up. We tear down the Christmas fa-la-la and return our homes to ‘normal.’ Often they look bleak and stark without the festive finery sprucing (pardon my pun) everything up.
After it’s all gathered and stored away, my house looks stripped bare. And I have to admit, sometimes my heart and soul seem bare as well. It’s the big after Christmas let-down and I’ve often suffered from this malaise. After a month-long season of making merry, the long stretch of winter weather looms ahead and can appear anything but full of good cheer.
Especially when you live in an empty nest. You awaken each morning in darkness and nightfall descends by late afternoon. You settle back into the same old routine of living in a silent house with just the two of you and one extremely sleepy cat.
You vacuum up the cookie crumbs. Corral all of those stray plates and glasses into the dishwasher. Scour the bathrooms until they’re sparkling again. Set the washer and dryer to a frenzy cycle laundering all the sheets and towels.
Gone are the overflowing suitcases. Gone are all the shoes tossed willy-nilly by the door. Gone are the purses, gloves, car keys, and overabundance of electronics that were strewn throughout the house. Gone are the three out-of-state licensed cars in the driveway.
And you might think joy flew right out that opened door when the last ones hauled all of their belongings and themselves through it as they departed.
But you know what? Joy only expires if you want it to. Joy lingers when you embrace it. I find it no coincidence that this week’s photo challenge is ‘joy’ right when I want to write about that very emotion. Right when I want to seize it, hold it dear to my heart, and never let go of it.
Joy shouts through my house at remembrances of times spent together as a family. Joy rings with laughter as it recalls stories told and games played and meals enjoyed around the table and gifts exchanged.
Joy remembers the sight of three grown adults with spouses sprawled around the family room watching old video tapes of the Christmas television specials they loved as children. Joy resonates when it’s captured on loved ones’ faces through photographs. Joy explodes in the heart when a simple text message is received: “Just got home. Thanks for the awesome Christmas. Love you!!”
The sights and sounds of Christmas may be put away for another year but joy remains.
“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” ~ Richard Wagner, German composer