Christmas is finished and decorations will soon be down. The carols have all been sung. Family reunions have been enjoyed (or tolerated, as the case may be). The gifts have been wrapped, unwrapped, enjoyed for a while, and some of them broken, returned to the store, or forgotten. The partying has produced an expanded waistline and a slim checkbook. The aftermath of Christmas can leave you with a deflated feeling, especially if you live in a cold climate with several more dreary months of winter.
But the best gift of Christmas just keeps getting better.
I’m reminded of the birth of our children. It was such fun anticipating the happy event. We prepared baby clothes, toys, and equipment. We dreamed of what it would be like to hold this baby in our arms. Finally the big day arrived with all its excitement—and then it was over. No, it had just begun. I’d find myself busy in the kitchen and then remember with a surge of joy that I had a new baby sleeping in the other room! He has been a wonderful part of my life to stay, after all the excitement over his birth.
So Jesus, the whole reason for CHRISTmas, is here to stay after all the excitement of the event has died down. The question is, what will we do with Him? Do we put him away on the shelf with the decorations until next December rolls around? Do we trade Him in for something more glitzy? Or do we welcome Him into our lives with love and honor every day—and enjoy Christmas all year long?
The other day we watched the annual parade in the city where we live, celebrating the ethnic diversity of its inhabitants. What a dazzling array of ethnic costumes and dance! And the pride in the the cultures they represented!
Do you suppose that in heaven, when “people from every tribe and language and people and nation” are assembled, we’ll all forget our languages and national origins and cultures and just all blend into one another? Or will each be given opportunities to praise God in our own language, dressed in our cultural finery and performing in our unique way? What a program that would be! What fun, and what glory! I’m looking forward to it .
Today we are celebrating many things:
–37 years since my husband and I became parents for the first time. Happy Birthday, Nathan! You fill us with love and pride.
–Two years since I started this blog. I pray it is a blessing to others; it has been so to me.
–And our five-day committee work session on Old Testament key biblical terms is finished—though that work has barely begun.
And now I celebrate the beginning of a weekend and this evening at home. Thank you, God, for times to work and times to rest. Thank you for your presence and the hope of seeing you one day—perhaps soon. Now, that will be the ultimate celebration!
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Being totally non-athletic, I have painful memories of being the last chosen whenever teams were picked for recess softball games. But one ironic incident stands out in my mind. On this day, the teacher of my one-room rural Nebraska elementary school (yes, grades K-8 taught by one teacher) asked me and another student to choose up sides. Wow, this was my big chance to be on the winning side! I did my best to choose the bigger kids who did well in sports. But to my chagrin I found out, after the teams were chosen, that this was not for an athletic competition. It was a contest to see who could eat the healthiest breakfasts for the next week!
The book of Daniel is still on my mind. God humiliated and defeated proud kings, and they had to admit that God’s kingdom is the only one that will never be destroyed; His rule will never end (see 4:34-37 & 6:26-27). Though it may look like evil is surely winning, we know the end of the story. And I’m happy to know that I’m on the winning team. My Champion is in the wings, coaching us players through long, wearying plays. But I can hardly wait until he finally bursts out onto the playing field, single-handedly blows away his enemies and wins the ultimate victory! Won’t that be the day! So let’s hang in there. It will be worth it. And what a victory celebration is being prepared for us—out of this world!