It is finished!
Can I confess that when the calendar rolls past the holiday there is a certain relief that falls on me?
The pressure is off to send one more card or shop for one more present or bake one more cookie or attend one more holiday gathering. Curiosity is satisfied and expectations were either met or disappointments dealt with.
It is finished. I’m grateful and even a little relieved. So where is the wonder and joy?
For some, this Christmas was unexpectedly different. The death of a loved one left an empty space at tables and in hearts so vacuous that facing the cheerfulness of the holiday was nearly impossible.
Military families with service men and women serving far away from home secretly hoped for a surprise visit like something out of a television commercial. (I know I crept downstairs on Christmas morning hoping to see an Eli-lump on the couch. Sigh. Just throw pillows.)
Empty nesters sleep in on Christmas Day, missing the pre-dawn promptings from children eager to open presents under the tree.
Snowbirds celebrating Christmas in the south are unexpectedly sad, feeling the absence of family members, silently missing the familiar cold and snow.
College students back home for the holiday are more excited about reconnecting with friends and time away from studies than celebrating Christmas. The childlike wonder and surprise is missing.
The monumental expenditure of creative energy and resources can bring out the crazy in the best of us. I’m guilty of losing sight of Jesus in the crush and sorrows of Christmas.
Christmas is over, but Jesus remains.
When the shepherds were told of Jesus’ birth, there was a good deal of excitement. Anticipation of our Messiah generated spontaneous travel plans, making arrangements for the sheep, getting cleaned up and their hair done (presumably) deciding what outfit to wear (perhaps) baking and creating gifts to bring to the party (maybe)? Ok, that’s a stretch.
Wonder and Joy
What we do know is the shepherds were filled with wonder and joy. A wonder and joy that could not be contained. The Bible says, “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2:17-18) Enjoying the Presence of God will fill you with wonder and joy, too. All. Year. Long.
Following the example of the shepherds, I’m going to find Jesus and be with him. In spite of changes and losses and angst about what next year holds, I’m going to take some time to recapture a bit of lost wonder and joy.
This week, I hope you’ll ponder and remember Jesus is the reason for Christmas and celebrations all year long. All the traditions and parties and gifts are just accessories to remind us that Jesus was born, and He came to save us. To be with us.
Sit in Jesus’ presence and be filled again with wonder and joy. I find Jesus in my Bible study. In my prayer closet. In my dreams and at my church. Where will you look for him first?
Leave me a comment where you connect best with Jesus to recapture your wonder and joy.