The Day After Christmas

Since my earliest recollections as a young child I have sensed December 26th as the day Christmas ends until the following year.  Until recently I didn’t even like hearing Christmas songs on the radio after Christmas day! I have heard from others that I’m not alone in this sensation of the holiday hangover. It’s really a bit odd if you think about it, especially from the Christian perspective. The day we have traditionally set aside as Christmas is to recall with great reverence the incarnation of Jesus, The Christ, a blessed and most holy event that transcends every other holiday commemoration, an event that is the cornerstone of our faith.  Why would it be that we choose to be unnaturally charitable and celebratory over it for a mere couple weeks in December?  What exactly is it about Christmas that builds us up to a particular day on the calendar with a finality when the clock strikes midnight?  Why do we experience “peace on earth, good will to men” only one or two weeks out of the year?  

I stand guilty as charged as each year I vow to keep the Christian mandate of our Savior, to take care of the widows and orphans throughout the year, not just during the “feel good” holiday, yet find as I look back a year later that I failed just like the many years before. It’s almost as if charity and benevolent considerations are an annual obligation, like taxes, that once paid are not due for another year.  And yet I pass the same homeless people every day, I read the same stories about runaway teens, I pass the same local missions on the way to work surprisingly at the same location as the day before without that Christmas tug at the heart.  Even the local Christian radio station sponsors random acts of kindness, going out of your way to pay for the lunch of a perfect stranger or the coffee order for the one behind you in line-great ideas that should be 12 month practices among us of the faith, and those of philanthropic awareness.  

I guess to me the feelings that are ushered in with Christmas are natural and built in through years of tradition, not unlike doing something nice for your wife on Valentine’s Day.  But to continue those practices when “not in season” takes a conscious effort to see, to recognize and respond as if there are only 5 shopping days left until Christmas and with the sounds of carols playing in your mind. There should never be a bad, inconvenient or out of season time to do something charitable for someone in need or to be a blessing when God is urging you to respond.  When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, He didn’t show up and perform a miracle or two once every twelve months.  In fact the Bible is clear that it’s not possible to record all the good things Jesus did in His short time on our planet.  

In 2014 I earnestly pray that I have ears that hear cries, that I have eyes that see hurt and that I have a heart that compels me to move and respond as the reaching hands and feet of our Savior in the colors of Spring, in the burning heat of a Las Vegas Summer day, in the warm winds of Autumn and on the 12 days of Christmas.

 

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One thought on “The Day After Christmas

  1. I enjoyed reading your meditation on this topic. It’s important. Not that I’m any sort of expert, but I will offer an opinion on one of the reasons why charity takes more effort at other times of the year. Though the Bible and church fellowship instructs us to perform consistent service, we live in a culture that only encourages extreme generosity in the case of emergencies; flood victims, children with terminal illnesses and the like. There’s still a strain of Puritanism here, and many people, even believers, hold to that “those who do not work shall not eat” kind of thinking, making no exception for those who for completely legitimate reasons aren’t able to work. And I’m ashamed to say I encounter Christians every day who compare the sins of others against their own, in order to establish a hierarchy of the “deserving” poor.

    Following in the footsteps of Jesus, the martyrs and the saints is very, very difficult. Unselfishness and radical inclusiveness are hard to maintain in a materialistic world. But these methods are a solution to some of the world’s oldest problems, and I believe in them and pray for the strength to do more, give more and act more often out of compassion.

    Like

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