I have a confession. I’m an “after-Christmas” aficionada. I love to save on “after-Christmas” sales. I love to “stock up for next year” at half-price and exchange unwanted gifts for refunds. I like clearing up and cleaning out and the sparkling expanse of a brand new, clean-as-a-whistle calendar. Neck-deep in my merry-aftering mirth, however, I’ve noticed something about this time of year. Maybe you have, too:
Torn wrapping paper has been bagged and discarded. Tree tinsel feeds the vacuum. Leftover turkey or ham has reappeared in an endless array of sandwiches, casseroles and soups. Life’s strains and pains have returned. Within a nano-second of December 26 the season’s luminescent kindness seems to sour to selfishness, generosity purchased on plastic comes due with interest. We pack away the decorations, turn off the Christmas lights, recycle the tree and return to the hustle and bustle and humdrum of every day life for another eleven months.
Or do we?
Why not linger a while and savor the season of Emmanuel, God with us? For a few shining hours during the “God with us” season, His reflection is everywhere:
v In the beaming grin of an overseas orphan who’s opened a Christmas gift from a total stranger
v In the single mom who sacrifices a million dollars disguised as her last few coins into a Salvation Army kettle
v In the housewife who bakes extra goodies for an elderly, lonely neighbor—and takes time to sit down and share
v In the reddened eyes and tired hands of a smiling Dad who’s finished assembling a bicycle just as Christmas Day dawns
v In the majestic choruses of Handel and the simple refrains of no-crib-for-a-bed
v In the youngster who gives up his own Christmas booty so an unnamed overseas orphan can sprout a smile.
You see Mom, I’m not convinced that just because we’re up to our eyeballs in “after-Christmas” memories, we must relegate the Why of Christ’s coming to the dust bunnies. That’s why I like to linger. To slow down and re-read Christmas cards skimmed at warp speed in December. To write thank yous that are meaningful rather than rote. To sing a few more carols and light more candles. To relish and reflect. While I’m at it, Mom, can I ask you some “after-Christmas” questions?
Can you give glory to the newborn King in March or October? How ‘bout hollering Born is the King of Is-ra-el during a summer heat wave? What about remembering that the Lord is come when a friend loses a loved one, a child needs a hug, or your husband needs encouragement and support? Can you come and adore Him by mending misunderstandings or fixing fractured friendships? Can you let heaven and nature sing beyond December and ring throughout your sparkling new calendar?
Will you ponder with me that if “God with us” can shine so well during the rush and crush of December, how much brighter might His reflection be if we sought and obeyed Him every day?
Kristine K. Lowder
Navigating the delightful, sometimes dangerous and often mysterious realm of relationships between Daughters of Eve with candor, hope, and faith.