It’s the day after Christmas, and no doubt you are in denial that all of the wonder and signs of the season will soon be packed away for another eleven months. Unless you are one of “those people”, who keep Christmas out until Easter (Memorial Day?), you know exactly the feeling that overwhelms you as the wrapping paper is in the trash and the Christmas dinner dishes are settled in for their spin in the dishwasher.
We don’t want the feeling to go away, do we? The feeling that seems to only come for a couple days out of the year, when we prioritize being together, peace, wonder, and slowing down the pace of our “busy” to reflect, and hope for the days ahead. And yet, just as quickly as this time seems to have blessed our hearts with its presence, we find ourselves packing away decorations…and “that feeling” our heart seeks to hold for as long as possible.
My prayer this Christmas has been, “God, help me not to get so caught up in Christmas that I miss what you have for me.” And, in the past couple of days, something caught my attention about the account of Jesus’ birth:
“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” – Luke 2:15-20 (emphasis added)
For the shepherds and Mary (and, no doubt, several others), Jesus’ birth changed everything – it changed them! They were beyond moved – they were transformed from the inside out! And so, on this 26th of December…or 28th of May (new plan for Christmas 2018, ok?), don’t make the mistake of packing away what God would have for you to hear, share with others, and ponder in your own heart. You see, Christmas is more than a feeling or a closely held tradition. It’s the truth that God sent His own Son as a baby, to grow up and give His own life for the sin of this world, to rise from the dead and then ascend to heaven to prepare a place for those who confess their sin and believe on His name.
Whether it’s before Christmas, the day after, or well into the new year, you and I have the opportunity to reflect over and over again how the story of Christmas changes our lives. We can sadly pack away the experience year after year, or allow Him to transform our hearts and lives so that regardless of the date, our song can always be:
Joy to The world! the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love