Word for Wednesday... Ending
Today is the last day of Christmas…Sigh. Some of you have been mourning its passing for days, since midnight on December 25th, and have already started counting the days until the next one. A friend on Facebook shared a post on December 26th that said, “364 days until Christmas!” But not me; we follow the Christian Calendar in our house, which prescribes a full twelve days to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Our Christmas decorations are still up. The picture that accompanies this post, which was taken only a few moments ago, is of our Christmas tree.
If I’m being completely honest, I have to admit I’m motivated to prolong Christmas by more than a commitment to Church tradition. The truth is, I just don’t want Christmas to be over. I’m one of millions of people affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD Syndrome. The shorter days, longer nights, and colder temperatures of winter have a way of leading people like me toward the depths of depression. Christmas is the highlight of the winter season for me, but winter doesn’t seem to really hit its stride until after Christmas has come and gone. The thought of winter persisting for at least two more months can feel more than overwhelming. But it’s more than that; the speed at which our society, and even the Church, moves so quickly past this holiday can make it seem like the first Christmas has left no enduring legacy. The conclusion of Christmas every year can make us even more aware of this painful reality.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. Christmas doesn’t have to end…ever. Yes, the tree needs to come down, especially if it’s a live one. And unless you are independently wealthy, the gift giving needs to stop so you can have money for things like food and electricity. But the love, joy, hope and peace that you feel deep down in your soul when you reflect on the amazing truth of Emmanuel, God with us; don’t have to be shelved until next year. And the difference Jesus has made in your life, and continues to make as you follow him, is the enduring legacy of that first Christmas. It’s the proof that God did send his Son into the world so many years ago, and is coming to earth once more, to establish his kingdom for all eternity. Don’t let anybody tell you that Christmas is over and done with. Instead, show them that Christmas is living in you.