The day after Christmas can feel like a “down” day for a lot of people. Reality sets back in as the distractions of parties, gift giving, visiting, and singing fade into normal things. You might find yourself hoping the new year, now less than week away, will be better than last year. Just a week ago, Facebook was sprinkled with happy photos of decorations and gift swapping, Christmas programs and last minute Pinterest crafts.
The truth is, if Christmas meant anything real in my life or yours, we’ll know it on December 26th.
How do we live in light of Christmas all year? The answer lies in the Christmas story itself. Just take a close look at “after Christmas” in the lives of Mary and Joseph. Jesus was no longer an infant, the couple was living in a house, and the wise men from the East had visited and just left for home. Once the oriental worshipers departed Bethlehem, the Christmas story as we know it was officially over.
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matthew 2:13-15)
What happened after Christmas took place “to fulfill what the Lord had spoken.” God sent another angelic messenger, a lot like the pre-birth visitations, and gave the leader of the small family, Joseph, 4 instructions. We need to do these same 4 things if we want to live in light of Christmas. These 4 steps are the key to being blessed all year.
4 After Christmas instructions
- RISE ……… You’ve gotten comfortable here. Let go of your comfort.
- TAKE ………. You are my servant. Remember your job is to carry Jesus.
- FLEE ………. You have only begun. Follow Me obediently to hard places.
- REMAIN ….. You have been obedient. Persist in trusting Me.
When the celebratory events of Jesus’ birth were done, the shepherds went home, the kings left, the gifts ceased, and daily routines began again. Maybe it felt like it was time to set “New Year’s resolutions” or goals for the year. Reality set it. Just like it does for us, daily life took over.
Like the young couple who held the Messiah in their arms, God wants us to let go of our comfort, keep on carrying Jesus, follow God’s ways when it’s hard, and trust in Him always. After we read the angelic directions, we read about Joseph, “And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there.” He did exactly what he was told, right away (even though it was night!), and didn’t question God’s plans. Egypt wasn’t exactly a vacation destination; it was hard. What’s YOUR EGYPT right now on this day after Christmas? Obedience brings blessing and peace in the midst of our Egypt. If Christ’s coming matters, our response should be obedience flowing from our hearts as the only right worship due the Babe we just declared.
Christmas is over. If it meant anything at all, it should show today. It should show up in our goals for the new year and in our outlook for the days to come. If Christmas matters, it matters now. Obedience is the key to living in light of Christmas.
May the new year be a year of obedience, when we follow God so truly that our worship carries on through each day we don’t call “Christmas.”