firexmasWell by now, most everyone has either packed up their Christmas decorations, or they’re staring at all the red and green everything—still tired from the holiday—and saying “ugh…let’s do it tomorrow…” over and over again.

As for us, we put our decorations out on November the first. Sometimes I get the itch and we start getting boxes down on Halloween night. So by the time Christmas has finally come around, we’ve all heard the songs, watched the movies and admired the lights so much we’re ready for it to just END ALREADY.

So on Tuesday we gathered up all our decorations and things, packed it up, taped it up and hauled it up to the attic. That evening, we took what was left over—old boxes, worn out wrapping paper, smashed and worthless bows and ribbons—and set it ablaze in our firepit.

So long Christmas; see you at Halloween.

There is something very cathartic about watching a holiday go up in smoke like that. It was very final. There was no turning back, no last minute second thoughts. No sudden changes of hearts. The sight of Caleb’s old toy box, with its little cartoon character staring back at me, engulfed in flames, was a haunting image I’ll never forget!

Okay maybe that’s an exaggeration.

The point is, once something is cast into the fire, that’s it for them. There were some boxes Lauren and I had sitting on the sideline, debating whether or not to toss them in. Many of them went to the flames, but a couple were granted a reprieve if we thought they could still be a great value. Those that burned, however, were burned forever. No amount of pleading or wishing was going to make me stick my arm in there and fish it out.

You do not want to be cast into fire.

Once you’re in, there’s no one coming to pull you out. No amount of pleading or wishing or hoping or begging for a second chance will matter. The time to avoid the fire is before you go in. Make yourself valuable to your Master; work hard in His kingdom, stay faithful to your calling. Do those things and you won’t be an “unprofitable servant” doomed to the fire; instead you’ll be a “good and faithful servant” ready to enter into life forever.