There are 12 days of Christmas ó a season that extends from Dec. 25 to Jan. 25
Iím not legalistic about activities within those dates. For example, we ordinarily put up our Christmas tree sometime in early December and take it down simply when we feel like doing so.
I usually put the tree up early. Why? Well, one reason is that I love looking at the ornaments. Many of them bring back fond memories.
This year, we purchased some additional tree ornaments. Jeanne and I longed for those that we grew up with from the 1960s.
So, I found one of Jeanneís favorites Ė a small, plastic, vintage, spinner bird cage. If you are at least 50 years old you probably know what Iím talking about. You place it over a bulb on the tree and the inner workings spin around.
When I was a kid, the ornament I loved the most was a small, metal bell that was red in color. I looked forward to putting that one on the tree every year. So, we also searched and found a set of them. Two of them are red.
Now, our tree has a number of old favorites hanging from its branches.
Soon, however, it will be time to take off all the ornaments, and break down the artificial tree. We will carefully package and store them away until next year.
For some, this will be a simple task. Their tree may be very small this year. Perhaps this was not so in the past.
They may have fond memories of family and friends gathered around a large, well-decorated tree, but that was long ago. Maybe this year they have no tree at all?
Now, for whatever the reason, they may find themselves alone. Perhaps they have outlived many or all of their loved-ones? Perhaps it is because others live far away?
Their seasonal celebration has become limited or non-existent, and their reality beyond the season remains.
Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ Ė a gift to humankind. The season of Christmas reminds us of care and charitable giving, especially to those who may be less fortunate than ourselves.
It seems easier at this time of year to keep open eyes for such things.
The challenge is to not box this up and only bring it out again next year.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.