I’ve read a few other blogs out there talking about the unique time that is the week after Christmas. We’re not quite back on normal time yet, but the pre-Christmas hype is definitely over. Jeff Goins in particular addressed the week after Christmas blues.
I guess the time after Christmas can be a real let-down, especially if we are operating under a mindset where Christmas morning is the end of the story.
I’ve been grateful these past several years to attend a church that celebrates the Sunday after Christmas with a lessons and carols service. It is a day where we basically read several sacred stories and sing Christmas carols in between the Scriptures. It is usually a good day for me as I can enjoy the carols and soak in the stories during a quieter moment than I did on Christmas eve (read: without breaking up stick battles between the shepherds).
This morning after hearing the story of John the Baptist pointing the way to Jesus, we sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” At first I wondered about the hymn choice. Wasn’t this an advent hymn? A hymn of waiting and preparation? Were we not already in Christmas now? Wasn’t the wait over?
And then it hit me. Of course the wait isn’t over, for the story isn’t finished yet.
Yes, the baby was born in the manger and Jesus comes to us in this world even now. But there is another coming that hasn’t happened yet. There is more advent to be had.
Maybe that’s why the day after Christmas can feel a little hollow and we bristle when people ask us if we got everything we wanted. How can we possibly have everything we want when people still go to bed hungry tonight? How can it be the most wonderful day of the year when so many still suffer in different ways?
But yet we can Rejoice. For not only did one come to be with us so that we would not suffer alone. But this One is also still coming and will come again until there is no more weeping, no more sickness, no more hunger. We look for a day when either our advent comes and we return to the bosom of the one who formed us or the Great Advent comes and the whole earth will be restored and redeemed.
In the meantime we will get homesick from time to time, not for the place we were born and raised, but for the land from which we were created. When we do we can remember the baby that came down in love. How the mother smelled heaven on his soft infant hair, how the shepherd felt the hands of healing grasp their pinky tight, how the wise men glimpsed glory in his eyes.
Like them maybe we will be lucky enough to glimpse a bit of heaven on earth from time to time. When our own child is born or tears against all odds turn to gleaming smiles. And until then we wait. We watch with hope. For the story isn’t nearly over yet. And the best is yet to come.