Many of us are a little sad to put away our Christmas decorations, even if the sadness is more about the tedium of packing everything up and lugging it into the attic or wherever it all goes than it is about the end of the Christmas season. Then there's that layer of dust that is left behind that must be dealt with at some point. (I haven't actually dealt with it at my house yet myself.)
Still, after a few days, I like the clean, plain, uncluttered and undecorated windowsills and the regained counter space and the spare plainness of January after the beautiful excess of December. I like the simplicity after the sumptuousness. I like seeing the basics right there in view. I feel encouraged to strip down to some basics in myself as well.
Today's Gospel reading from John (chapter 1:19-28) finds the Pharisees asking John the Baptizer, "Who are you?" For John has confessed and asserted: I am not the Messiah and I am not Elijah and I am not the Prophet like Moses. And the Pharisees want to know, "If you're not the person we're expecting you to be, who are you then?"
When you strip off the decoration, when the party is over, when you get down to the basics, who are you, then?
That can be a tough question at certain times in our lives, particularly in times of change. After a move, a new job, a new child or children flying from the nest, marriage, divorce, aging, retiring..... life is full of change and after each change we have to reassess and reevaluate. Who am I now?
But the basics stay the same. I am a child of God and for whatever reason, God cares for me. That stays the same.