Decorations will be carefully packed away to be used next year. Some old things past their usefulness will be thrown away. And then there are special gifts holding such meaning that they are put on display for everyone to enjoy.
Fortunately for me, this task is not so bad this year. I cleverly combined the 'recovering from surgery on my ankle' excuse with the ever-popular 'We won't be home at Christmas' excuse and did no decorating.
We celebrated early with my immediate family before hitting the road for Grandma's house, so this is exactly all of the decorating I did:
Cleaning up won't be quite the chore of past years. But thinking through 2015, it feels like we need to do the same things to clean up and be ready for what 2016 will bring. Let's look back at the year and see what we need to pack away, throw away and put on display.
Let's pack away things that are only useful for a season. These can be thoughts, attitudes, habits or physical things having a specific time and purpose in our life, and will be needed again in the future.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiates 3:1 (ESV)
This is really hard to admit, but over the last year, I've gained back a good chunk of the 93 pounds I lost a few years back. Recovering first from injury and then from surgery, starting a new business that involved hours of sitting at the computer and using it all as an excuse to eat poorly have combined to undo much of the hard work I did. It's embarrassing because my weight loss journey was very public and celebrated.
But for now, I need to pack away my skinny clothes. I've resisted it in hopes of some quick miracle that would allow me to wear the stylish outfits again this season, but I know the instant miracle won't come.
It's time to pack away the unrealistic hope of the quick fix and do the hard work all over.
I'm confident I'll need the skinny clothes again one day, but for now, they need to be packed away.
There are two kinds of things to be thrown away. They could be things that we never should have had in the first place … bad habits, unhealthy attitudes or wasteful practices. Or they could be good things that had a specific purpose but are no longer needed.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8 (ESV)
I'm throwing away my helicopter parenting. I've spent the better part of the last 20 years helping one or the other of my kids with math and science homework (I knew that engineering degree would come in handy!), even re-learning differential equations earlier this year so I could help my son through one of his college classes.
I've checked grades online sometimes daily, stayed on top of homework and project due dates and pestered them about studying for tests. But this last semester, my son's classes went beyond where I could help. And guess what we found out?
We've raised a smart, responsible young man capable of figuring it out on his own.
Who knew? He made the best grades of his life and is on the Dean's List! While helicopter parenting gets a bad rap and some people completely over-do it, in our case, staying closely involved with my kids is one reason we have two young adults who are well on their way to happy, productive lives.
But it's over now. Time (admittedly a little past time) to throw it away and watch them shine on their own.
PUT ON DISPLAY
Some things are so valuable, so treasured, so meaningful, they need to be put on display. They've been the bright spots in the year, the ones that give us strength to live in today and hope for the future.
But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him' 1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV)
By far, the things to put on display from 2015 are the new friendships I've made through starting Do A New Thing. Online communities that have encouraged me to keep going and provided much needed help and information. Clients who have quickly become friends. And one sweet lady I met when I was hundreds of miles from home but turned out to live just a few miles down the road from me.
These people have truly been gifts to me from a gracious Father.
So that's how I'm cleaning up 2015 and getting ready for 2016. The new year will bring new things to be packed away, thrown away or put on display when this time rolls around again.
What things are you going to pack away, throw away or put on display this year?
Linking up with Ember Grey at #GratefulHeart, Krista Q at #MeetUpMonday, Abby McDonald at #RaRaLinkup, Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday, Jaime Wiebel at #SittingAmongFriends, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart, Deb Wolf at #FaithandFriends and Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus