T’was the night after Christmas and the house is still. Everyone is weary, internal energies needing to be refilled.
I hear quiet conversations; feet periodically walking around. But other than that—there is no sound.
Stockings lay empty, their mission complete. Packages like scattered carcases, their insides deplete.
Paper scraps and tape are littered across the floor. Plates take turns in the microwave, heating food from the day before.
The boys are tucked in their rooms, each enjoying the gifts he received; while Thad is working in the basement, and Ana and I are taking time to read.
Everyone is tired, needing rest and time alone. Thankful for the respite, the solace of being home.
Christmas was a blast! Full of energy. Love. Laughter. And cheer. But now it’s time to recover from “the hangover” before we celebrate the New Year.
Soon it will be time again to cook, clean, and bake. To gather with friends and stay up late.
But not today. Today I’ll refresh. Recover. And rest. Today I cuddled up in my Father’s lap and laid my head on His chest.
Today I finally reflected on all that Christmas means. The blessings. The joy. The glorious effects it has for you and me.
With all the distractions behind me, I took time to ponder. I sat in the silence; let my heart linger and mind wander
To the stable where a mother nursed her child close to her heart. To the hill where she held His body all torn apart.
To a hillside saturated in a heavenly glow. To the ground where His blood and tears flowed.
To a father adoring his precious adopted son. To the Son crying out, “It is finished. It is done.”
To the manger where His cries pierced the night. To Cross where the soldier pierced His side.
To wise men bringing expensive gifts—frankincense, myrrh, gold. To the split veil giving me access to God’s Throne.
To the shepherds racing through town, proclaiming the Good News! To a hillside proudly displaying an empty tomb.
It’s Christmas Hangover time.
Are you feeling it?
Over the last few weeks, has the To-Do list been longer than the hours of the day?
Maybe you’re still “in it.” Take a deep breath. Enjoy it. Relish it. As you go from gathering to gathering, as you look back at the pictures you took, remember. The faces. The names. The conversations. Treasure them in your heart. Like Mary.
Are there things you didn’t get to? Things left undone? Things you had to take off “The List,” because you ran out of time? If so, don’t beat yourself up! Let them go. Instead, marvel at The Child who was fully God and fully man. The Word who became flesh to offer you salvation. To invite you into His family. To have a relationship with you and restore your relationship with the Father. To give your life purpose and meaning. Fall in love all over again with The Messiah who pursues you with an unrelenting love. Remember who you were before He came into your life. And revel in who you are now because of Him. And then tell others! Like the shepherds.
If your “list” has kept you from complete authentic worship of Jesus this season—seek Him now. Search for Him with all you heart. When you do, you will find Him. Let nothing stand in your way. If you need help or direction. Ask. Then fall on your face before Him and worship Him with all your heart. Like the wise men.
If your December didn’t go as planned. If there are broken relationships, lost jobs, fears, and uncertainties. If you’re experiencing broken trust, disappointments, insecurities, and unknowns believe God still sees you. Still knows your name. Still has a plan for you. A purpose. He’s got you and He’s got your back. None of this surprises Him! Like the census. Like the long, arduous journey to Bethlehem. Like no vacancy in the inn.
Friend. I know where you are.
For me, December has been spent wrapping up the Bible Study, a kid’s music concert, wrestling meets, meetings, carpool, baking for a funeral, picking up my son and his girl for Christmas break, preparing for Christmas, visiting with family and friends, mentoring, etc. It all had me running and running and running even though it was ALL GOOD STUFF!!!
However, December also held disappointments, stress, illnesses, SAD and deep hurts. I didn’t study the Word as deeply as I like to. I didn’t achieved my monthly writing goals, read the books I’d planned, finish my book proposal, or write the free devotional for my subscribers. And I beat myself up. I felt like a failure.
But this morning, and I cleaned up the mess, God stepped in.
“Baby, look up.” No response.
“Baby, look at Me.” My eyes drifted up. “That’s it. Now focus. Let everything else go. Look at me.”
And there, by the tree. Alone in the silence. Amid the scraps of paper, strips of tape, empty boxes, and bags of wadded up wrapping paper—I looked up. Focused. Let everything else go.
“Remember My story. Who I am. Why I came. Remember Whose you are and who you are.”
And like a movie reel playing before my eyes I saw the stable…the cross…the tomb…the garden. I saw the baby. I saw His nail pierced hands. I saw His young mother and His mother a few years older than myself. I let the Good News flood my heart and mind until I was refocused. Re-centered on Him alone.
Beloved, as you work through your Christmas hangover, let your heart linger at The Manger. The Cross. The Tomb.
We have the entire story neatly written and preserved for all eternity. Mary and Joseph didn’t. The wise men and shepherds didn’t. They lived the story one breath at a time. Just like you and I do.
Let your mind imagine.
Imagine holding the Alpha-Omega in your arms. Fathom that our all-powerful God chose to become an innocent, fragile, vulnerable Child. Chose this path the restore our souls and heal our brokenness.
Imagine being mindful of His breath filling your lungs as you witness Him taking His first breath. And later, His last.
Imagine the tiny hands gripping your finger are the same hands that set the stars in place and put the galaxies in motion. They’re the same hands that would be pinned to the tree.
I could go on and on, but I won’t.
It’s your turn. Imagine.
Beloved, as you recover from your Christmas Hangover, remember His story and the good things He has done for you…then, like the shepherds, go tell those around you.
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