Photo by my sister Chas – My twin nieces know what it’s like to go through the emotions of transitioning from Christmas day to December 26.
Yesterday was so beautiful. Everything was shiny and covered in glitter, with ribbons and bows and holiday cheer. The day was full of hope and high expectations, too high to ever be fulfilled.
The Reality of Christmas
Today feels like the worst day of the year because there is no longer such excitement to look forward to, no presents to wrap, no cookies to bake, and no Christmas feast to celebrate. Even the Christmas tree seems to have lost it’s luster and one by one the houses will lose their bright glittering lights. No more Christmas music, Christmas movies, or Christmas milk and cookies.
This special time of the year means so many different things to so many different people. For some this was the first Christmas without a loved one, for others it was their first Christmas with their first child, while others were overwhelmed by the media, the magazines, and the pressure of society to whip out their credit cards and spend and spend and spend. Yet even after opening up the mountain of presents we feel even more empty then ever. Maybe we were focusing on all of the wrong things and lost sight of all the great wonder that makes Christmas the best day of the year.
The Power of a Materialistic Focus
The reason we become so depressed the day after Christmas is because we have spent so much of our focus on the materialistic aspects of Christmas. Instead of remembering the true meaning, we are absorbed in the luster of those perfectly wrapped presents and what they have secretly hidden inside of them. Once those beautiful gifts are no longer wonderful mysteries, sadness begins to take over with there being nothing else to look forward to, hope for, or dream of… Or maybe we have it all wrong.
This day can leave a bitter taste in your mouth along with an aching tummy. As you look back over the last few days and weeks all you can see is a blur – a blur of wrapping paper, bows, sugar cookies, and gingerbread houses. It can be a beautiful blur or one lost to the tragedy of materialism. I become overwhelmed with sadness when I hear people complaining about what they didn’t get for Christmas and equate it to not having a good Christmas or not being loved. Honestly, when I hear this all I want to do is shake them – in the nicest way possible of course – into the reality of what this time of year is truly about!
A Joyous Time of Year
I have decided that the day after Christmas should be one of the most joyous days of the year. Should we not continue to celebrate the birth of our Lord and the beginning of Christ’s ministry on earth? Should we not continue to share all of the beautiful love that this special day encompasses? The spirit of Christmas is so special and does not come with an expiration date. We should cherish the feelings Christmas brings and hold tight to the memories we make during the holiday season – not just the bill payments from all of those overpriced presents.
Now do not get me wrong, gifts can be a wonderful thing! There is nothing I love better than giving a present to someone and seeing the excitement, surprise, and joy in their faces – it’s like giving myself a gift to see them light up! However, that is not why this season is so joyful. This season is for celebrating the most wonderful gift we have ever been given. For God so loved the world that he gave His beloved Son. That whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Erasing the Worst Day of the Year
Even though Christmas is now officially over – although some of us may still be watching Christmas movies and eating Christmas cookies – the importance of the day can continue on all year round. One of my favorite parts of Christmas was reading the nativity story in Luke chapter 2 with my husband Christmas Eve night. There is just something so special about reading this momentous part of history on the most important night of the year. One of my favorite things about this chapter is that the story does not end there – it was just the beginning of Jesus’ time on earth. This means that after the day we celebrate Christ’s birth we can continue celebrating his life and work on this earth. Now, instead of being continuously saddened by the days after Christmas I am going to remember the importance of Christmas and the wonderful journey that leads to celebrating the resurrection of Christ!