He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.
- William Blake
I typically get sad right about now. It's December 30. Christmas has passed, the new year is coming. I have to really go back to work...
This whole holiday season has been about the joy of Christ's coming into the world and I want to hold onto it tight and for forever. But I'm reminded by the words of Blake, seen above, that binding joy is the quickest way to suffocate it.
Instead, I must let it go - let it fly. And there is so much curious beauty and complexity in the image of joy flying. Just as a young bird may experience fear leaving the nest for the first time, I experience fear in the wondering. What will this next year bring? And as the mother nudges her baby birds out of the nest - she may experience grief - the very same grief I experience remembering the goodness of friendship, family, memories, and love from the year before. And there is faith. Faith that as the bird steps out of the nest, that indeed her wings will flap. There must be faith that in the fall, there will also be rising. Finally, there is hope. Hope that as we experience, fear and grief, and faith, we will also experience Joy.
This is the hope we can awake with each day as we greet the rising sun. The hope, that through all of life's living we will experience the joy of the Christmas season as we remember that Christ has come into the world - and that Christ reigns, and that the Spirit of God moves alongside us each and every day.
So if you're like me, sad to pack away the stockings, take down the tree, or unplug the holiday lights - remember that it's still Christmastide. There are plenty more days to celebrate the coming of Christ into the world (and to begin to slowly loosen your grip around the joy you'd hoped to stash away for later.) Even more though, begin to remember that the Joy of this season, reigns over each and every day. You might need this reminder on just an ordinary day, not too long from now. When the snow is still heavy, the sun has been missing for too long, and the harmony of layers is growing tiresome.