Well, as of Thursday, January 6th, the twelfth day of Christmas has passed and the season is truly over. I suppose I have to pack up my lights and ornaments and put them into storage for another year. The rush to get Christmas over and done with really bothers me. It is almost as if we get so tired of Christmas, having been rushed into it by the major stores as early as October. Then, the rush to decorate comes earlier each year, sometimes eclipsing Thanksgiving! By the time Christmas really comes, the tree has been up so long it needs to be dusted!
Maybe we shouldn’t rush so quickly into the Christmas season. I mean, maybe it is okay for the merchants to start advertising Christmas early, but that isn’t really Christmas. It is commerce.
The worldly spirit of Christmas tells us to shop, shop, shop and to push, push, push.
The true Spirit of Christmas tells us to worship the One whose birth we remember.
The worldly spirit of Christmas tells us to spend hours decorating and baking and rushing around to finish all of the season’s “duties.”
The true Spirit of Christmas speaks to us, as Jesus spoke to Martha, when she complained about her sister. “Martha, Martha,” Jesus answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mar y has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41).
Why am I writing about Christmas when it is officially over? I have several reasons, but let me list two here.
1. When we celebrate the holidays without the true Reason for the season, we often find ourselves sad, even depressed. This time of year often sees an upswing in people being hospitalized for depression and even in suicide attempts. In my opinion, the tremendous stress of the season to have the right partner, buy the right gifts, attend the right parties, and so many other things, places so much strain on a person that, when it is over, the individual can be left feeling exhausted and alone.
2. Now that the “pretty-ness” of Christmas—even in holdouts like me—is packed away, the lack of sparkle may cause us to see our surroundings and life as just ordinary, nothing special, nothing worth crowing over.
If you find yourself a little depressed and out of sorts now that the holidays are over, if you are exhausted but you still have to go back to work, maybe you need to take some time to celebrate Christmas the way it was intended to be celebrated: by worshiping the One who left heaven and was born as a child without a home. Take some time to reacquaint yourself with God’s Gift, the fulfillment of a promise he made to Adam and Eve, to Abraham, and to many others through the prophets. It isn’t too late.
Maybe you packed up your Christmas spirit with your decorations and lights. The joy got tucked into the box with the Baby Jesus, and the peace got wrapped up with the garland. You don’t need to joysunpack everything to regain your joy and peace. The true Spirit of Christmas is a Person who wants to live with you every day, to share your joys and your sorrows, to hear your laughter and wipe your tears. The true Spirit of Christmas can’t just be packed away and forgotten. The Spirit of Christ is calling you, today and every day, to faith, to salvation, to maturity, to worship.
The story of Christmas isn’t just about a baby, some sheep, a cow or two, and a few shepherds and wise men. The true story of Christmas is also the story of Easter: Jesus Christ left heaven and came to earth to walk as we walk, to grow as we grow, to learn as we learn. He lived, taught, and then died to make restitution for all of our sins, failures, and weaknesses. But then he rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of God, constantly making intercession for you and me.
If your sadness, depression, or just plain blah days are wearing you out, take a few moments to reacquaint yourself with the Christ of Christmas. Read the Word, sing “spiritual” songs, and spend time with your brothers and sisters in faith. Strengthen one another as God has strengthened you.
As you seek God, may you find peace and joy in these “ordinary” days. As you do, the sparkle just might return, not on your windows or on a tree, but in your eyes and heart as you reflect the light of God to others.
Mary Kay Glunt, Pastor