26 Dec What Next After Christmas?
Hello, everyone! How had your Christmas been? I believe many people, including non-believers, love the joyous spirit of Christmas. Much cheer and busyness surround Christmas. We spend time shopping for gifts, wrapping them, planning Christmas feasts, catching up with family and friends, soaking in lovely Christmas carols.
This year, the pandemic may have somehow dampened our holiday mood, but Christmas has a way of making us temporarily forget the harsh demands and realities of life and find comfort in relishing the joy of the moment. Yet, before we know it, Christmas is over and decorations have to be taken down and celebrations cease. Then, life resumes…to a reality of stressful deadlines, long to-do lists, bland routine, still strained relationships, vicious cycle of sin, etc. In short, we have to ultimately go back to life in a broken world. In no time, the wonderful feeling of Christmas becomes but a faint memory.
But let’s take a look at how some blessed people in the Bible reacted after they heard about and saw for themselves the birth of Jesus. <Luke 2> 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Now, when the shepherds left Jesus’ manger, they were still shepherds. They didn’t suddenly become wealthy noblemen after meeting baby Jesus. After that glorious encounter with Jesus, they still have to labour and work at night to tend their flocks. Their lives were still quite the same, yet also not exactly the same anymore. After seeing Jesus, the shepherds spread the word and returned, glorifying and praising God. As for Mary, she treasured all the things concerning Jesus’ birth in her heart, even things she could not make sense of immediately, but she kept them in her heart, even after the shepherds and Magi left after seeing baby Jesus.
So how about us? How are our lives after Christmas?
It is important that we do not send Christ away and forget about Him after Christmas. He must still remain the centre of our lives, not just on Christmas day but every day. After Jesus was born, He grew up, started His ministry, began to teach and eventually fulfilled His mission. Likewise, after remembering Christ on Christmas day, He should continue to be active and stay in our lives, to direct our thoughts, hearts and steps, and be thoroughly involved in our lives to rule in our hearts. Jesus was born and named as “Immanuel” (God with us) <Mt 1:23>. After Christmas, we must all the more confirm and enjoy the presence of Christ in our lives.
The period post-Christmas is for us to think beyond Christ’s birth and ponder about His life, His concerns for God’s kingdom and people, His obedience to God, His suffering and sacrifice, His fulfilment of God’s salvation plan, His victory over death and devil, as well as His second coming. Each of these has important implications for us. His life and obedience are what we should imitate. His concerns should also be our concerns, we should witness for Christ not just on Christmas but certainly after Christmas. His victory should give us peace and assurance even as we still face attacks from the evil one and life problems. His finished work on the cross should not only set us free from the fear of judgment and the curses of sin, but also compel us to live a life worthy of the grace we received. His sufferings should strengthen us as we face our share of trials on earth. His self-sacrifice should stir us to love others more. And His future coming should give us hope, that eventually we will enjoy perfect peace and rest from all troubles and be lifted up in glory to be with God forever and ever.
If we have celebrated Christmas correctly, and have been reminded of God’s love and touched in the right ways during Christmas, then our lives should all the more be transformed by Jesus after Christmas. Thus, Christmas is more than just an event in December. Like Mary, we should treasure the things about Christ in our heart. The reason why the Son of God, Jesus, was born as a human, is to love us, reveal God to us, and most importantly reconcile us to God by His ultimate sacrifice on the cross. His love should prompt us to learn more about Him, be attracted more to Him, and obey Him daily. That is what we should do after Christmas. If we have received many gifts this Christmas but do not see Jesus as the best gift, then we have missed out on the highest joy of Christmas. For the Christmas feasts, parties, presents and decorations will fade, they would not be able to sustain us as we navigate through the harsh realities of life and the cunning work of the devil, but the love of Christ can strengthen us more and more as we strive to centre our lives on Him. May God empower us to live right before Him even after Christmas!