My Christmas decorations are already down and packed away.
They came down last Sunday evening while Chuck played in the background, making me laugh out loud as I packed up ornaments and stockings and ceramic Santas.
It's against my nature to leave Christmas up past New Years - an old wives tale of bad luck for the new year ingrained into my psyche.
So before the new year rings in, down comes Christmas, boxed up in anticipation and wait of another December.
But now my house feels strange and a little barren. It feels big and empty where it felt small and cozy. It feels open and wide where it felt close and comfy.
And part of me can't help thinking I feel a little of that barrenness inside me too. Not a woe-is-me, the-end-of-the-world-is-nigh kind of barrenness, but a little emptiness, a little soft and delicate quietness, a little needing and longing for a bit more.
It is this barrenness which has me pressing into diligence - into persistently putting my hand to the plow, into earnestly engaging in the relationships around me, into faithfully loving with my heart, mind and strength.
Into saying a prayer of grace and thankfulness and wakefulness before slapping my 5am alarm.
Into sweating and pumping and learning what it means to love God with all my strength.
Into quietly seeking to know God and to know the me I am in him and to know the goodness he puts forward into the world.
Into being salt and light and having a tongue slow to anger, abhorrent of misguided speech.
Into mindful and prayerful eating and honoring God whether I partake or I abstain.
Into giving life and light and hope to the people surrounding me whether they be clients or colleagues or friends or family.
Into giving myself fully unto the part I've been given to play in the community of the saints.
Into being open and honest with my barrenness and my longing and opening those wounds with faith and trust to the God who heals and to the saints who are his healing.
Because there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.
This season is a season of diligent waiting - a season of bareness, but a season of anticipation and hopefulness. This season is a season of believing in the impossible and praying for the improbable. This season is a season of quietness and faithfulness. This season is a season of stillness before the Lord and patiently waiting for him.