Yet it was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins! Isaiah 53:4 (Living Bible)
The day after Thanksgiving is always an exciting one. Christmas season kicks into high gear, the tree comes down out of the attic and lights go up on the house. That day is full of anticipation and hope for a joyous and peaceful Christmas season full of our favorite music, food and decorations and opportunities for gathering with family and friends. Despite the complaints in the media about cranky shoppers and store clerks, I find people to be generally happier and eager to please during the Christmas season. December can be a magical time. But, the day after Christmas does not usually bring such delight. The day after Christmas means it is time to haul the decorations up to the attic and clean up the mess from Christmas entertaining. The day after Christmas is the time to balance the checkbook and wonder if you have enough money to make it to the next payday. It is the day when you receive those last minute mailed cards and think, “Oh, I didn’t send one to them.” The day after Christmas is the day for reviewing the presents you did or did not receive, the radio stations switch back to their regular programming, creditors pick up the phone to start calling again and Christmas cookies go stale. I am not a partier so New Year’s Eve is just another night and New Year’s Day, the deadline for making sure all of Christmas is stored away. Christmas is over and there is nothing to do but dream of the next year’s festivities and vow never to cook more mashed potatoes than your family can eat in one sitting again. So, disappointment could be your attitude if to you, Christmas is all about the gifts, the lights, the food and the parties. Is that all there is you might wonder? Funny, I wonder if Jesus thought that when one moment He was in Heaven wearing a crown and the next moment He was sandwiched in Mary’s uterus. I almost said, womb, it is nicer sounding, but the word, “uterus” reminds us that Jesus left perfection to join us in our messy, sad, sometimes disappointing lives. Christmas is not all that there is because it is just the beginning. Christmas celebrates the time that God came down in human flesh to walk beside man, to give meaning to this life and remind us that there is more. He lived through the same experiences we do. He knew our grief and sorrow. He showed how obedience to God’s call can change lives even when the choices are hard ones. Jesus came to fill that empty aching need in our hearts. His journey began in the manager, but it was completed at the Cross. On this day after Christmas, why not take the step to begin walking alongside Him? Your life will never be the same and you will carry the real Spirit of Christmas with you much longer than those cookies or mashed potatoes will last.