Happy New Year and clear the clutter

Last week it was my turn to submit an article to the local newspaper on behalf of our local ministerial association. I am printing this here ahead of when it will be published, but I wanted you to be able to read it ahead of the rest. This should be a post-Epiphany read, but here it is for you now.

Clearing Clutter

It is hard to believe that not only has Christmas come and gone for another year, but the whole Christmas season even Epiphany is finished. In our house at least in the past two years, the tree and most of the decorations stay up until a few days after the first Sunday in January. Years ago we used to have things packed up and put away well before heading back to school, but with our youngest in college and having a longer break, she and I have been taking advantage of those extra days off to pack things away in a more orderly way.

I was hoping to downsize some of the items this year by giving them to the daughters as an “extra” choose me gift. That may have worked except last fall my husband and I almost literally stumbled on a couple of unmarked boxes of Christmas items stashed away in the basement. I must have picked them up in an auction sale at some point, and here they were more bulbs and decorations and crazy looking items to put on display. It is amazing how much clutter one can accumulate in a lifetime. On the other hand maybe amazing is a stretch, maybe the wording should be, “It is no wonder what can be accumulated in a lifetime when you enjoy the fun of bidding at auction sales.”

No matter how or why it is accumulated, the key word in the phrase should be clutter. It seems there is much to clutter our homes, our minds and basically our lives. In this age we have more than just the physical items that fill our homes and shops and storage buildings, but we also have all of the data that fills our technical devices. I remember taking pictures as a child with an old black and white camera with the film that had to be developed. In those days we were careful not to waste any of the pictures, and we were so disappointed when one or more were ruined for whatever reason. Now in our digital age, there is no limit to the pictures or other data that we store, good or clutter.

Perhaps, just as we neatly pack away the decorations of the Christmas season to clear out our homes, we should also clear away the clutter of our lives in order to make room for the Christ Child whose birth we so recently celebrated. This year’s calendar leaves just a few days more than a month between Epiphany and Lent. Not much time to sort a basement of clutter, but enough perhaps to build a deeper relationship with a Messiah, Savior, Christ, God-with-us. What a better world it would be if we all had a deeper relationship with Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

PS: My one and only New Year’s Resolution is going to be dealing with the clutter. I plan to take advantage of those weeks between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday to do one corner each day, to finish one item each day. The last part will be fairly easy since I have about 20 projects on the half way or more mark. I will also be pretty easy on what counts (supper perhaps, or cleaning the bathroom, ha!!). I would like 2016 to be the year that I DID something. I am just worried that the garden will need to be sacrificed in order to complete that plan. HA!!

At any rate, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you!!!


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