The fizzle is out of my soda pop, or to us Southerners, my coke. Come to think of it, the snap is out of my crackle in a lot of ways. Four days after Christmas now, dust has diminished the shine of decorations and scraps of paper remain of the pretty presents under the tree. The cookie box is about empty, the half eaten cake is in the refrigerator, and the empty stockings lie deflated.

Having taken the first nap today that I’d allowed myself since too long before the holidays, I awakened very thirsty. I had come into the house earlier with that super sleepy feeling I get from riding in a sun-filled car, and went straight to Mama’s old chaise in my sunroom, moved Mr.Gray Cat’s blanket and stretched out in the bath of sunlight all over my back. About an hour and a half later I awoke suddenly, remembering something I had promised I would do right after lunch; and it is now 2:45 pm. Shaking the sleep from my head and the adrenalin from my heart, I poured a glass of Diet Coke  over crushed ice, looking forward to that sparkle and sizzle to get me going. I thought I might sit for a moment and plan my strategy for de-decorating over the next few days; then proceed with today’s assignments.  My heart sank as the flat brown liquid just sat there, no fizzle nor foam at all; just that yucky sweet taste and I’m reminded of so many things – like my memory – that seem to have gone flat lately, or at least lost their luster.

Having the blessing of good friends to share the season with is so important to me. One such occasion was my college roommate stopping for an overnight visit yesterday.  I told her she got the leftovers from all the Christmas goodies, but unfortunately it was more than just the food. Five days of grand dog plus our own puppy, and simply enjoying time spent with family had left the floors strewn, furniture dusty, and the dessert table a crumbly hodgepodge. My energy level  as well, was waning. So I decided to take the advice of sage writers and just relax and enjoy the time together instead of being exhausted from cleaning and preparing like we do at the beginning of the season. And, I did enjoy our visit so much! Hopefully she did too, enough to forgive my smelly little puppy and dusty furniture. Judging by the way it was accepted, I’d say the Christmas cake was still good.

This all reminds me of the way we often enjoy our season of being in the beauty of God’s love but in so doing we let the tinsel tarnish and the glow grow dim. In the midst of our blessings we can take so much for granted. Busy-ness, baking, purchasing and wrapping almost wipe out our ability to enjoy the Christmas season. Likewise, business, family and friend activities, recreation – just enjoyment of life in general – can, and often does, take our focus away from the excitement we felt when first giving our life to Christ. Here we are basking in His presence, but forgetting the missions He has given us. I speak for myself betting there are others like me. It was good to just sit back and enjoy family activities, preparing food, exchanging gifts, watching movies and best of all laughing and talking while we end another year of blessings. Meanwhile, a layer of living crawls over all that pretty preparation of decorating and baking, and lack of upkeep is obvious. In my personal life, I want to be more diligent this coming new year to keep my Christianity shining. I want to keep that ‘new Christian’ feeling alive. “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”(Galatians 6:9). Again, to the Thessalonians Paul wrote “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good” (II Thess.3:13).  God’s Word never grows old nor out of season. I want to hear the fizz and see the sparkle every time I open HIs Word; I want to be refreshed by it, preventing me from having a flat outlook on life. I want to taste the sweet perfection of His love and never have a yucky taste in my mouth from the world that the devil drives.

Two days later:

I’ve turned the Christmas tree lights back on today to drive away the gloominess, yesterday’s sunshine hidden by today’s rain. I love the sparkle and excitement of the holidays and tend to hold on to it as long as possible. Eventually the task of keeping it all refreshed gets old, and alas, it will come down and make room for tax preparation, garden planning, and perhaps a puzzle assembly. But in our non-holiday world, the richness of His grace is all I need to drive out the gloom and doom that threaten our joy. With Christ in your heart, you will overcome the tarnish and dullness that Satan wants to wrap around your blessings. Happy New Year friends. As you pour your cup of cheer, whether Diet Coke, wassail, or egg nog, may you recognize your blessings and shine all year!

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).