The fizzle is out of my ‘co-cola’ which is how you say Coca Cola in the South. 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 once full stockings lie flat.

Waking from a long nap in the warm sunshine that bathed my back through the sunroom windows, I was quite thirsty.  This had been the first nap after a very busy holiday season, and I must have slept very hard, for an hour and a half later I awoke suddenly, remembering something I had promised to do right after lunch. 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 fizz to get me going. My plan was to let the carbonation open my head and inspire strategies for dismantling decorations and attack routine jobs.  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, and lost their luster.

Having good friends to share the season is so important to me, so the blessing of an overnight visit from my old college roommate yesterday proved not all has gone flat!  Unfortunately,  she got the leftovers from all the Christmas goodies, and 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. 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 enjoy a season of basking in the beauty of God’s grace; but in time, we let the tinsel tarnish and the glow grow dim. In the midst of our blessings we take much for granted. Just as busy-ness, baking, shopping and wrapping almost wipe out our joy of the Christmas season, business, family and social life, and recreation  can, and often do, steal our focus and joy from the excitement of a new life in 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 get a bad aftertaste from the devil’s devices to steal my joy.

Two days later:

I’ve turned the Christmas tree lights back on today to drive away the gloominess, yesterday’s sunshine followed 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 post-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 Co-cola, 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).