How Long Will Christmas Last?

Posted on December 27, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

Rankin-Devotional“Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

Christmas is over for another year. The gifts have been exchanged with friends and loved ones, decorations taken down and packed away and the Christmas tree thrown out with the trash. Admittedly, in the midst of the beauty of colorful lights and lilting carols heard and sung once a year, the season is actually quite a hassle.

Shopping is filled with anxiety in trying to select just the right gifts that will be appreciated while maneuvering among congested traffic and shoppers to find the best bargain. The pilgrimage home to gather with scattered family members, sometimes in inclement weather and enduring improvised sleeping arrangements at grandmother’s house, would not be the normal preference for spending vacation time.

Yet these traditions are all worth it and add to the captivating spirit of Christmas. How long will Christmas last? In all the joy of the season do we look forward to life returning to normal sans gaudy lights and sentimental tunes that are no longer relevant after December 25th? Sure, that new sweater or electronic gadget will be a continuing reminder of Christmas, as well as the sweets and leftovers from overindulgence around the table; but does having celebrated Christmas make a difference in our lives in the weeks and months that follow?

How could Mary forget that first Christmas–the grueling trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem while nine months pregnant because of the whims of a despotic ruler and the humiliation of sleeping and giving birth in a smelly stable? But she knew the significance of this occasion more than anyone, what with proclamation of the angel, the worship of the shepherds and the celestial glory that surrounded the event.

I am intrigued by the Christmas song, “What a Strange Way to Save the World.” The God of the universe entered the world as a tiny baby; those flailing hands reaching for his mother’s breasts were hands that created the heavens and earth, and were hands that would be pierced for our sins. No, Mary never forgot that miraculous birth and night of awe. It was also unforgettable for those humble shepherds as well. “And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:20). They remembered the startling appearance of the angels and the divine aura that filled the stable. They spread the news abroad and told about the experience to their children and grandchildren for years to come.

Will we pack up the memories of Christmas with the decorations put away in the attic, or will the celebration of our Savior’s birth be a lasting reminder of God’s unfathomable grace, the One who chose to become a man and redeem a lost world. The worshipful carols, the pageantry and observing communion with our church fellowship on Christmas eve will be a highlight of the season for me. The joy of gathering with extended family, especially grandchildren, becomes more and more precious with passing years. The lyrics of familiar songs that have echoed through the house in recent weeks will linger on the brain for awhile longer. But I hope we don’t pack Christmas away and just move on with life. May we continue to ponder in our hearts the “why” of the decorations, parties and family reunions. And like the shepherds may we continue to be filled with praise and glory to God for the significance of all that He has done. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior another year may it instill in us a renewed desire to tell others what we have seen and experienced in welcoming the Christ child into our hearts.

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