The day after Christmas
As I prepare this, it is the day after another one of my wife’s five-star Christmas dinners, and it is another great day around the table for family. The best holiday meals make for excellent leftovers.
But what was the day after the first Christmas like for Mary and Joseph?
They were tired … bone tired. They just traveled about 90 miles, made a nearly fruitless search for accom-modations, then there was the birth. Teenaged Mary just had her first baby and most likely without a mid-wife. We can only imagine the emotions of the young couple felt from anxiety about no room in the inn to the strange and joyful announcement by the not-so-religious shepherds.
I wonder how much help Joseph really was.
That first day after Christmas there was probably a lot for Joseph to do. He needed to get food, a find home and a job. He needed to register with the Roman occupying forces as head of household: one wife, one male child. In a few days there will be a circumcision and then a temple purification ceremony within a month.
For believers, Christmas day changed every day after it because Christ changed them. In Biblical times, kings set calendars by their ascension to the throne, but Christians set their calendar by the humble birth of God’s son in a stable.
A Christmas that doesn’t change everything is simply make-believe. Believers never allow their heart to get far from the humble manger. Make-believe Christians may speak of forgiveness then justify unforgiveness and do not see the problem. Believers, though, are required by the Christ of Christmas to love without bounds and to forgive without measure. A life that began in a stable and ended with a cross commands us to love as Christ has loved us. Jesus chastised the Pharisees for evicting widows from homes and then offering long prayers that God would meet the need of the widow.
Do you celebrate a Christmas that changes everything or is your celebration make-believe?