The lights have gone out on the tree for the second time now. In all our merrymaking over the last few days we forgot to water it, so now the needles sprinkle down when I walk by. My sweet tooth was satiated days ago, but there are still more cookies and candy in the house than ever. Family and friends have filled our new house, filling it with memories and, thereby, making it home. The first wave left this morning, and the second wave arrives tomorrow. And just in case things weren't crazy enough, we have been passing around the stomach flu (maybe I should warn wave two).

So much excitement. So much laughter. So much work. I love celebrating Christ's birth at Christmas and feel freedom to make very merry, but sometimes my quiet soul gets lost in all the noise. Then the tree starts fading and with it my spirits.

Today the merrymaking traveled elsewhere, and I am home with the most recent flu victim, my youngest. It seems the worst has past, and he is sleeping beside me on the couch. The house is so quiet I can hear the needles falling. I am sorry Sammy is sick but relieved to have the calm, blessed stillness.

The glory of the lights, food, and gifts is fleeting, and a part of me is always disappointed when I see the glimmer start to fade. I wonder if Heaven might have felt the same after that first heralded night when a star lit up the sky and carols debuted with an angel chorus. Such rejoicing! Such glory! All creation would have sung and would still be singing had it known the reality of that night. But tomorrow life would return to normal excepting a few crazy shepherds' stories. Or so it seemed.

My tree will have to come down soon. After New Year's celebrations, I'll save my waist and trash the remaining cookies. Our regular routine will return. But I know what Heaven knows! The glory of Christmas is just a reflection, like a full moon reflects the brilliance of the sun. And while the season wanes, Christ and all His glory remain. May that glory shine and sing in our hearts all year.

I'll probably leave my up my lights outside for a while. Just as a reminder.