The day after an event is always a curious thing. And when it's today, the day after this whole season of Christmas...
It’s all over. The shopping, the cooking, the decorating, the programs, the running, the planning, the wrapping, the card addressing, the non-stop Christmas music...
It's all over.
I always find there’s a letdown after something I've been looking forward to or working towards is behind me instead of the one huge thing filling my vision.
It would seem to be time to refocus: to that end I've already read several emails, most sent on Christmas day, about the After Christmas Sales. I heard that J.C. Penny was even opening at 5:30 am this morning for shoppers...I wonder if anyone showed up? Who isn't totally worn out with shopping by now? The evening news last night already had diet tips to shed those holiday pounds...and I've even had a couple conversations about Easter plans...!
It's also a time to deal with disappointment; in what didn't happen, wasn't given, or didn't get accomplished before the big deadline of Christmas, or with the gadgets of Christmas that didn't quite live up to the expectations of children, or yourself!
It's a time to reorganize; to deal with leftovers, the food, and wrapping paper and decorations, gifts that need to be exchanged and the general pieces of whatever mayhem took place in your house over the last few days and then of course to assimilate new things into your life and to pack up all the Christmas decor and put it away until next year.
It's a time to return to the real world; after having been able to take a break and spend it with family, friends and in general frivolity today can be like a cold slap of reality as you trek back to work.
Do you ever wonder what happened to Joseph and Mary the day after the baby and the shepherds and all the excitement? When the sun shone the next morning and the people started coming for their horses and donkeys, did they blink and wonder for a second if the previous night was all a fantastic dream? Did they spend the next night in the stable or was there some room found for them in the inn?
What we know is that eight days later Jesus was taken to the temple in Jerusalem where the prophets Simeon and Anna received him. And what we also know is that for Mary, the time after Christ’s birth was a time to ponder.
“Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” Luke 2:19
There is a week here between all we’ve been doing in preparation for Christmas and the beginning of a new year. A time to refocus and reorganize, but also a time to ponder.
Christ has come into the world. A new year is right around the corner.
It's most certainly a time for pondering.
Max Lucado has said of Mary and Martha, those most famous of NT sisters, that Martha had things to do and Mary had thoughts to think.
This is a time for the Mary in all of us.
A time to think.
That the Timeless One stepped into time for us.
That the mystery of the Incarnation was all on our behalf.
That Christ has come.
That whatever next year holds we do not face it alone.
That we are never outside the scope of His awareness and concern.
Before you turn your Christmas tree lights off, follow Mary’s example and gather together like treasure the memories of the season, the blessings that have sifted down, the messages you’ve heard, the gifts of love manifested in presents and in their presence of family and friends, and ponder them this week and take from them an energy and richness as you enter a new year.
Remembering that He is Emmanuel, even when Christmas will be just a distant memory, He will still be “God With Us”.