Well, we’ve made it. Aside from maybe a gathering or two of relatives and a few more exchanging of gifts, Christmas 2017 has finished. The presents are opened, and the Christmas dinner is now leftovers.
All that excitement for a few hours of one morning. Finished for an entire year. It’s easy to feel almost a letdown when the excitement of opening all the gifts has passed. The rest of the day provides us with relaxation or fun family time, but once December 25 turns into December 26, are you ever left wondering, “Now what?”
Pondering and treasuring
“Now what” easily turns into a few more parties and a lot more hours of deciding if you actually want to make working out regularly your New Year’s resolution. Because now that the presents are opened, it’s time to get back to normal life and routine.
But what if it’s not supposed to be like this? What if we’re not supposed to feel a letdown when Christmas is “officially” over for the year?
If our minds and hearts are focused on the true meaning of this time of year, then we’ll realize it’s never actually time to stop celebrating, even when all the presents are opened and the decorations are put away safely. We’ll remember for a young mother so many years ago, this season wasn’t over with one passing day.
As shepherds spread the word of the tiny baby lying in a manger, Mary pondered in her heart all aspects of what had occurred. She treasured these events, securing them deep within her soul. Her attitude was not one of making lists for what was to come or tidying up the mess that had just been made. No, she pondered and treasured.
Obviously, Mary’s life situation after she birthed Jesus is slightly different from ours. She couldn’t simply remove all traces of her “Christmas” and get ready for the next month. But, like us, she most likely thought, “Now what?”
Her response? Awe, wonder, pondering and treasuring.
Belated Christmas gifts
Mary’s example of continuing worship reminds us that even when the presents are opened and Christmas feels over for the year, we can still carry on with an attitude of thanksgiving and awe.
We have another example of this, too. The Magi with their belated Christmas gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Isn’t it interesting how nativity scenes, Christmas songs and movies all clump the Magi in with Christmas? We know from scripture they didn’t arrive at the feet of Jesus for at least a few months after His birth. And yet we include them as a part of the Christmas story.
If that’s the case, why do we so quickly transition from celebrating this season to focusing on getting through the first few months of the New Year? Why do we feel the worry of “now what” when, in the hearts of Mary and the Magi, this season of celebrating was only beginning?
We certainly can’t keep decorated evergreens up in our living rooms for months and months. And there’s only so much Christmas music human ears can take. Realizing the hearts of Mary as she pondered and the Magi as they delivered their belated gifts shouldn’t guilt us into keeping our wreaths out until March. But it should help the exhausted feelings that come when all the presents are opened turn into a joy and wonder that lasts beyond December.
Living in awe
How do we accomplish this attitude? By continuing to live in awe of Christ. Treasure what you have received from others this Christmas—whether gifts, words or time. Leave decorations around your house that aren’t necessarily Christmas but still remind you to worship God each day. Things that remind you to ponder what He has done for you.
The birth of Jesus is one of the greatest events in history. Celebrating this moment and the miracles surrounding it should not last a single morning or even one day or month. Living in awe of Christ means we don’t have to live with the letdown. It means we have a reason to celebrate each day when we rise from our beds and face whatever lies ahead of us.
We have more to look forward to in this life and for all eternity. Yes, Christmas is just one day, but it points to God’s glory that we will one day experience standing in His presence. That image alone should leave us in awe and wonder.
So yes, the presents are opened and the holiday cheer will soon be packed neatly away for 2017. But what we treasure deep within our souls will never leave us asking “Now what?”
Let’s Talk About It: What do you do to celebrate Christ all year round?