When the celebration is over


It’s Monday.

More specifically, it’s the Monday after Christmas.

Christmas day, and all it’s celebration, is now in the rear view mirror. It can leave us feeling a bit deflated. There is all this build up and then it’s gone. The anticipation of family time and coziness and delicious food and then it’s over.

Or, maybe this Christmas was particularly hard. The family gatherings were strained or didn’t happen at all. You were just hoping to make it through the day intact.

Whether a highlight of your year or a low-light, Christmas 2021 is over.

As we get back to work or start cleaning up the decorations and putting away the tree it makes me wonder – what was it like 2 days after the first Christmas?

If we think about the real reason we celebrate – the birth of our King – what was it like 2 days after for Mary?

For the shepherds?

I can picture the shepherds, returned to their flocks, out in the field. They look out over their sheep and talk over the experience of the angels, some of them wondering if it was all a dream. One comments on how, when finding that newborn baby in a manger, being in his presence was unlike anything they had experienced. They marvel, shake their heads when words don’t come, and sit in awe as they think about what all this may mean.

And then there is Mary. When I think about what I was like 2 days after giving birth, I picture her as exhausted, sore, and just wishing for a little quiet. But she was in the physical presence of  the living God, so maybe this birth recovery was a bit different. No doubt there were middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. But, unlike us, when we think about what our little baby may grow up to be, Mary and Joseph already had a glimpse. So, while she held baby Jesus, coaxing Him back to sleep, I see her in quiet contemplation, a smile on her lips as she reminisced the past few days, thought about what all it meant, and pondered on the future.

For Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds, the celebration was not over. Though the first Christmas day had passed, they were rejoicing, looking forward, knowing their King had come.

They knew this was just the beginning.

The Lord is here, Emmanuel, God with us. The arrival day is past, but Jesus is in our presence every day. May we carry that joy of Christmas with us throughout the year. Not necessarily the happiness you get from coziness, family gatherings, and good food. But the joy that lasts when you stand in the presence of your King and know you belong.

May we not see this as the end of a season, but truly the beginning.  

Be not content this Babe to know
Nor stay at Bethlehem.
But go with Christ to Calvary’s brow
Beyond Jerusalem
Tis there men learn to know the Christ
For there He bore man’s sin.
So open wide the door of heart
And let the Savior in.
“The Babe of Bethlehem”

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