Sunday, December 27, 2009

Are you a Packer or a Lingerer?

I'm amazed at how many Facebook posts I'd already seen as early as the day after Christmas that said "Christmas is all packed up and put away. Back to life as usual!"

That's so NOT me because I am a lingerer. My tree and lights will be up and lite through New Year's and sometimes even through "Three Kings Day". There's something about the lights against the dark early winter nights that I'm reticent to extinguish.
I wonder what happened in Bethlehem the day after the birth of Jesus. Was there finally room in the Inn? Did Mary and Joseph pack up baby Jesus and move indoors or did they have to hang out a little longer with the animals?

We do know that eight days later they'd traveled the two miles to Jerusalem to present the child in the temple and then, after the visit of the Magi, they fled to Egypt. Talk about packing things up and returning to "real life". First they deal with a scandalous pregnancy and questions about their sanity I'm sure as they both recount visits from an angel and now they have become refugees in a foreign country. Forget the shepherds and their story of an angelic chorus, the Magi with their foretelling gifts, and the blessing of Simeon as Jesus was presented in the temple; they are now fugitives on the run from a mad despot determined to kill their child.

Yet Scripture specifically tells us that "Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart" Luke 2: 19. Although Mary had to be a "packer" she was also a "lingerer".

The days are passing. A new year is quickly approaching as this Christmas season recedes. No matter if your decorations are still up or have been safely stowed away in the attic; carry still with you the treasures of the season in the truths that it celebrates. God loves you so much He came to be with us. He is and will be Emmanuel, God with us, from this time of trees and lights until we do it all again next year and until we reach our home with Him. Let that truth linger in your heart as you return to life as usual.

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