When we do take down our decorations later this month, always with a sigh of regret for retiring the cheerful little lights and the brilliant star that has welcomed us home these past weeks, we will begin a new tradition. (I'm always looking for new traditions to add meaning to the old.) I found a prayer for putting away Christmas decorations on the website of the Gregorian Institute of Benedictine College. I'm going to print it out and put it with the decorations. Perhaps we'll have cookies and hot chocolate (or a glass of wine and some cheese) as we remove the ornaments remembering the child who made this one in third grade and the crocheted Santa from my elderly aunt, now deceased, and the reindeer heads made from grandchildren's handprints. The memories will rest on a shelf in the basement to be resurrected like the Phoenix next December.
Will you join us in the prayer?
“Lord Jesus, today we will put all of our Christmas decorations away. Soon, we will enter into Ordinary Time.
“Our house will look ordinary again, but Lord, you know and we know that our house has a secret. Deep inside it, all of our Christmas decorations are still here. The blessing of Christmas is always with us, kept in the deep, quiet places of the house.
“And Lord, our lives will become ordinary again, but you know that each of us has the grace of baptism. The grace you gave us is always with us, in the deep, quiet places of our soul.
“Help our house be a house with Christmas at its core, and help our souls be a place where Jesus always dwells. Help us live the grace of Christmas every day, only without all the trappings. Amen.”