We are almost to the 12 Days of Christmas. I am spent. LOL. The season can wear you out. When you think of the chaos of having all those things happen to you, if you took the song literally, over 12 days, it is exhausting. Of course, these are all Christian symbols, for which we sing the song. Thank goodness it is just symbolic, although I recall a story about some guy romancing his girl by gifting her all these things (probably a Hallmark Christmas movie plot). But for the first time in a long time, I am ready to take down my tree and get my house back. I am craving streamlined and simple. I am over extras I have to move out of the way just to put down the blinds in the living room. Or the stuffed cute things I have to hide from our grand puppy whenever she visits (I love that dog, so it is not her). We will be babysitting two dogs for our groomer next week, and I seriously want all this put away before then.
I have come to realize it is not Christmas that is bothering me, it is the clutter. I have become less tolerant of clutter. And as I look around our house, which most people think is sparsely decorated, I keep looking at ways to streamline it. LOL. I really hate to dust. I am not a fan of having to pick up all these little collectibles, dust around them, and dust them, and put them back down, only to do it again next week. I am blessed in that our house is not particularly dusty. It is well-sealed. A house we lived in, that we loved, was in a pasture. Literally. And it was in a wind-zone. I would have to – seriously – get bath towels wet and lay them on all the doorways and along all the window sills in our house. If I did not, there would be little piles of fine, fine dust at each one. I had to vacuum my window sills, my doorjambs, and my entry points all the time. I had to vacuum the ceilings regularly for spider webs and dust hanging off them. It was a farm and it was a constant battle between me, the elements, and the creatures, and I was determined to win. So I know about dusting. (Who are we kidding? It’s dirt. Good, old fashioned, dirt). And I am not a fan. So, to make it easier, I have very few of my collectibles out on shelves. I have very few shelves or tabletops for displays. And I like it that way. It is bad enough I have white carpet, but that discussion is for another post. LOL.
And I have collected some knick-knacks on my kitchen counters, as well as baked goods that have been pretty well picked over (you know, Christmas cookies, the fudge, the cakes, etc. you seem to collect on pretty Christmas plates with plastic wrap on them) and I am ready to toss the lot of it. I want my countertops back. And I am getting the Spring Cleaning bug early this year. I keep thinking of ways to de-clutter. And at the same time, I am fantasizing about new valances (don’t freak out, sweetheart), and maybe changing up the window coverings we use. Sigh. Ideas for the future when I can once again open my windows! LOL! And a foyer bench idea I would like to have. Like the one below.
Anyway, winter is fun, don’t get me wrong. I adore Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year. Enjoying a White Christmas is a special experience, and I know I am blessed to live where that is pretty much the norm. But I am ready to return to simple. And I know it stems from other things, as well. We are now preparing to enter a different liturgical season. We are going to be praying more, seeking closeness with the Scriptures, as we, even now, look towards Lent. And prior to Lent, we clean. Obsessively. Spring cleaning is about making way – for God in our lives, for action in our lives. We cannot move forward if we are holding onto the past. We cannot be tripping over the clutter in our lives, expecting to change ourselves in fundamental ways.
As in Advent, we prepared the Way of the Lord in our homes and hearts, waiting on His birth. Now, we journey with Him through His life, His Death, His Burial, and His Resurrection. For me, not only do I need to have a “spiritual cleansing” to prepare for the Lord, I also need a physical one. We plan to change eating habits as we move towards Lent, waiting until after these 12 Days of Christmas. We all make resolutions to ring in the New Year – lose weight or stop smoking, or reconcile with people from whom we are estranged. All sorts of things like that. Then, in Lent, we offer to give things up, to help clear a path for the Lord. And Spring Cleaning is all that, and more. It is in the heart and mind, the soul, the stomach, and the environment. I don’t need much in this life, but those around me – I take joy in celebrating with family and friends, all the milestones that make up life. And I am also enjoying more one-on-one time with my husband. (Even after 34 years of marriage, he is the one I want to spend my time with). And neither of us requires much around us. We both prefer the simple to the overly decorous or too bright and colorful. Muted tones, muted decor – a place to sigh and relax, to unwind, to be quiet and simple.
I think God is moving me – again. Sometimes He uses a 2×4 and sometimes it is a whisper. I think this time, He is allowing me to see what I need. And I think I need to get busy simplifying even more. So for now, I am dodging the dancing ladies, leaping lords, and making room for the drummers to go right on out the door. Oh, and I plan to mute the pipers piping….Epiphany is Sunday! And then we move on and make a path….a simple, straight path, to the Cross.