“They will call Him Immanuel, which means God with us.” Matthew 1:23
During my first mission assignment I lived close to a large African city. When it was almost Christmas I found a few cheaply-made, imported decorations in the supermarket. Besides being very expensive, they were gaudy, so I doubted anyone would buy them.
Christmas arrived, and I was surprised to see that my African neighbors had bought and decorated their houses with these paper-based ornaments. After the new year, they hadn’t taken them down. By the end of January the decorations appeared worn and frayed.
I asked one of them, “How long will you keep the decorations up?”
He replied. “As long as possible.”
“Why didn’t you take them down after Christmas and pack them away for next year?”
“Is that what you Americans do?”
“Yes, we pack them away and bring them out each Christmas.”
“That seems a little disrespectful, like packing away Jesus and bringing Him out every year.” He frowned. “The decorations represent the joys we have through the birth of the Savior.”
Another neighbor added, “Shouldn’t they last as long as possible like the life and joy Christ’s birth has given us?”
When you take your decorations down, don’t pack away the joy of Christ’s birth with them. Keep Him, his love, grace and joy in your hearts and lives every day.