Imagine Mary and Joseph the day after Christmas. Baby Jesus is here. The shepherds and angels have come and gone. The farmer wants his barn back. They still have to go register, their reason for being in Bethlehem in the first place. No diapers, no clothes for the baby – so that needs to be taken care of as well. And then there’s the long journey back home – on a donkey with a baby. The Holy Light of Christmas Eve is fading fast in the light of the day after Christmas realities.
Isn’t it that way for all of us too? We have gathered with family, sang songs of joy in church, lamented the lack of snow, opened presents, gathered up the used wrapping paper. There may be extended moments of Christmas celebrations but for the most part, the magic has passed.
Or has it? Could it be the magic has just begun? For Mary and Joseph, Jesus may be the face of God, but at this moment, he is their firstborn son. There is the miracle of a tiny baby that fills a parent’s heart with joy that has no words and overrides all the inconveniences of sleepless nights, baby cries and tired arms. One baby smile can erase all exhaustion. Jesus is the face of God, but at this moment, he is their firstborn son. The magic of watching him grow, of seeing the first baby steps of the Messiah, hearing his first words.
And for us? Could it be the magic has just begun? We have ended an Advent of thought, song and prayers that tethered us closer to God, our families and ourselves. We have celebrated the birth of a baby that changed the world with family gatherings, parties with friends and church services. Now as we celebrate one year’s ending and another of possibilities beginning, could the magic journey with us through the year? Could these moments of pulling closer to what matters be our scope for the new year? Could the miracle Jesus inspire us to launch ourselves into new dreams and new journeys? Could the love we have experienced encourage us to love deeper, more honestly, without barriers of fear?
Henry Van Dyke wrote, “Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellow-men are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness–are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.
Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open–are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.
And if you keep it for a day, why not always?”
How can you bring the magic, the joy of Christmas to your every day of 2015? Let us know by commenting below.