There’s always a melancholy feeling that comes over me when it’s time to pack the Christmas decorations away. Christmas has come and gone and in some ways, nothing is different. The Christmas celebrations we’ve looked forward to for so long have taken place and were perhaps magical and filled with special memories that will last a lifetime, or they were filled with moments of family conflict, rushing around and cooking that have left you rather exhausted. Or perhaps, they were filled mostly with an aching and keen awareness of how much you miss those who could not celebrate with you. Whatever your Christmas has been like, the truth is that actual day of celebration doesn’t magically solve all our problems or have the stress-releasing effect on us we somehow think it should. It doesn’t not suddenly make us prepared to face the near year with all its busyness, demands and pressures. Christmas Day doesn’t do this, but the One Who came that day can. Christmas is just one day, but the Saviour Whose birthday we celebrate is with us every day. He comes into the ordinary “every days” of the rest of the year and brings His healing, His light, His peace and His strength. With that in mind, here are a few things we should NOT pack away this Christmas season so that the magic of this time of year and the reality of the Saviour we celebrate will stay with us as we move into the new year:
Christmas is the only time we talk about being “merry”, but really, we should make time and room for merriment, joy and celebration every day. Paul exhorts Christ-followers to “Rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 4:4). There is a lot to be joyful about so don’t stop celebrating when Christmas is over. Keep on looking for joy and creating joy in the world.
Somehow it’s easier to be generous and giving around Christmas. We part with our change more easily for beggars at robots and car guards at shopping malls. We may even give the petrol attendant or the waitress a really big tip for no real reason. We are more inclined to volunteer or do charity work or give things away. Imagine what the world would be like if that spirit of generosity lasted longer than the month of December. Strive to make generosity a way of life. We serve a God Who is lavishly generous every day and calls us to be the same. Don’t pack your generosity away until next year.
- Making time for connecting
For most, Christmas centres around celebrations with people we love. We make time to stop running around for a moment and spend time with family and friends. We connect. We engage. What if we spent time with the people who matter most to us more often in the year to come and really made sure that we made time for the most important things? Keep connecting.
Christmas reminds us of the hope we have Who comes to us as a baby in a manger Who grows up to be the eternal, all-conquering King. Somehow it is easier to be hopeful when we remember Him at Christmas and look ahead on what the new year holds. When we sing about coming to adore Him, about the holy night of His birth, the manger instead of a crib in which He lay and the King the earth has received, our hearts are inclined to hope. May we continually be mindful of these beautiful truths throughout the year to come so that hope can stay alive in us.
Joy to the world.
The Lord is come.
Christmas has come.
Christmas has gone.