The day after Christmas.
We don’t like to think about it as we plan for the big day tomorrow. But it always follows Christmas. Every year.
December 26th can feel like a deflated balloon after the most special of birthday parties.
Depression or regret can start to take root, and I want to consume more dessert (for breakfast) as my focus shifts to goals for the new year.
Reading Luke 2 this year left me wondering what the day after Jesus’s birth was like for those that witnessed firsthand this blessed miracle. Let’s put ourselves in the place of each of the main characters for just a moment:
The shepherds are visited by an angel and told the Savior of the world has been born. God had sent the angel to tell them to go find Him. The God of the Universe broke through the cosmos and the social barriers of the day to tell these lowly-status men Great News . . . and invite them to see it firsthand. They saw the Army of Angels praising God! Then, off to see the Savior of the World.
Mary was recovering from delivering a baby. Yes, a miracle from the Lord, the One all of eternity had awaited, but still a baby. She had sweat and pushed and cried among the animals on hay. She didn’t have a cute layette to dress Him in but had to wrap him in cloth scraps and put Him in a trough. She watched as the brightest star she had ever seen shone over her son’s manger and strangers began to come and bow before Him. She kept these things in her heart as any young mother would do, making memories in her mind that no camera could truly capture.
Three men traveled from distant lands to see what prophecy had foretold. They were wise and kings in their own regard. But this was what they had studied, charted stars for. They curiously came to see the King of Kings.
Most representations of this scene bring a lump to my throat and tears of joy. How humble and glorious all at the same time! If in a movie, the music crescendos and the credits roll.
But what happened the following morning? What did the day after Jesus’s birth bring?
The shepherds shared this Great Joy with those in town but went back to watching their flocks and working their herds. They went back to work.
Mary was feeding our Lord, changing his cloth diapers and recovering herself. I’m sure Mary and Joseph were exhausted from their journey to Bethlehem and already sleep deprived as new parents quickly become. They were overjoyed by this Miracle that God had given them. I’m sure consumed with thoughts of “What does this mean?” and prayers to be the parents that Jesus needed. Mary and Joseph began raising Jesus.
The wise men returned to their lands to share what they had experienced. I’m sure they ruled their households differently now. They had seen the light and knew the True Glory. Each would be a different king because of that night in the manger. Each returned to their role as wise man and king.
Each of the God-chosen individuals had witnessed The Truth, experienced Jesus for the first time and He had set them free. Free to be. . . to be the person God had created them to be and to live the life, work the role He had placed them in.
Each shared with others their experience, their encounter with Jesus in their own way. Each went to work. Each embraced the role they had been given by The Father of the Christ Child.
We will experience the Savior, Emmanuel & the King of Kings tomorrow. It’s His birthday we’re celebrating.
But on December 26th, how do you live in freedom? To do the work. To share this great joy, Good News you have witnessed and experienced in your own heart?
How will you share with others about your experience with the Christ Child?
What will you do as you go back to work in the fields?
How will you rule in your household differently because you’ve encountered the King of Kings?
Because what we do after the miracle is as important as experiencing the miracle itself.