408. Christmas Is Not the End

Today is Christmas. (I mention this in case, y’know, you hadn’t noticed.) This day finds each of us in a different place. Some of us are rejoicing. Some of us are burdened, lost, hopeless, or heartbroken. Some of us are drinking a fifth cup of coffee and thinking about The Legend of Zelda. (All right, that last one might just be me.)

I like to think I’m pretty good with words. Whatever my faults—and they are many—I can generally think of something funny or clever to say. It’s on days like this one, when words matter most, that I can’t seem to find the right ones. Anyhow, I can’t seem to express my feelings without sounding like those insincere messages printed in holiday cards, which is one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a writer.

Today is Christmas, and even if it means sounding like a generic holiday card, I want to say just a few things.

Still not relevant

This photo is hardly relevant to this blog post, but I’m adding it anyway because it’s adorable.

To those who are rejoicing today, I say this: I’m happy for you. I hope your Christmas is full of nostalgia for the past, contentment in the present, and hope for the future. May your day be filled with laughter, loved ones, and cookies. May the year ahead be the best and brightest you’ve ever had.

To those who are grieving today, I say this: I’m sorry. May you find whatever joy and comfort you can this Christmas, and may the year ahead bring you healing, peace, happiness, and hope.

Christmas tree

Wherever you are today, may your Christmas be bright.

All right, I’m done with the holiday card stuff, but there’s one more thing I want to say.

For those of us who live far north of the Equator, Christmas comes and goes in the freezing darkness of winter. The holiday season is like a candle flame, burning bright and warm, extinguished in a moment. We clear away the wrapping paper, take down the Christmas trees, and resume our ordinary little lives. The nights, no longer lit by colored lights, are still long. Without the excitement and bustle of the holidays, the cold seems ever more oppressive. Winter loses its charm. The warm feelings of Christmas disappear like last week’s snow.

Relient K puts it well: “No more lights glistening. No more carols to sing. But Christmas—it makes way for spring.”

The celebration was brief when Christ was born. Then it was back to a time as dark and bitter as any winter. God seemed to have abandoned Israel. There were no more prophets. The Roman Empire ruled over God’s nation with disdain. The first Christmas was over, and it was back to life as usual.

In the end, Christ gave his life for us all, and then promptly took it up again in history’s greatest miracle. A new age began. The church grew and spread. Winter was done. Spring had come.

002

Colored lights and ornaments are nice, but nothing makes a tree more beautiful than spring.

Wherever you are today—happy or sad, rejoicing or grieving, surrounded by loved ones or far from home—I pray that your own winters end quickly. May the life, light, and warmth of spring be never far from you, and may this Christmas be a hopeful prelude to something even better.

God bless you, dear reader.

2 thoughts on “408. Christmas Is Not the End

  1. Nicely said. It’s something I guess one doesn’t consider all the time on Christmas (or the day after) but yeah, there’s this huge miracle and bright star shining on it, then it’s over and for 30 years nothing seems to come of it. Then in a three-year (or so) whirlwind everything happens, with more miracles than you can shake a stick at. But how must it feel in the midst of those 30 years? The star is gone, and it’s back to the day to day.

    I’m working my way (achingly slowly) through the Bible from page 1 to whatever the last page number is, and I’m just about to the point of them finishing their 40 years of wandering through the desert. Moses is lamenting that he’s not going to get to see the promised land. Those 40 years must have been miserable. You finally get out of slavery with these huge miracles, and then, while miracles are still happening, things are dark and you keep wondering when “spring” is finally going to come. And how many of them never even made it?

    Fascinating stuff to consider as we deal with those long winter nights!

    • I wonder what Jesus’ life was like before his ministry. The Gospels give hardly any information about those thirty years, which is a pity. I suspect there are a lot of interesting stories about him we shall never hear in this life.

      The Exodus of Israel is fairly gloomy. Well — let’s be real here — the Old Testament is fairly gloomy. 😛

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