The good thing about starting Christmas late in the morning is that complete exhaustion shows up later as well.
I'm tired and I had a pretty mild Christmas compared to some of my friends. Honestly, I think 'tired' is a really good way to spend the end of Christmas Day. I'll bet Mary and Joseph were tired after the delivery of the baby, God's Son. I suspect the shepherds were pretty tired after spending the night watching their flocks and then all the excitement that surrounded the announcement of the angels. The baby Jesus? Of course he was tired. Every baby alternates between activity and sleep. He spent a lot of that first day on earth sleeping.
Pastors are tired. They've been doing church for a lot of hours in the last few days. Musicians are tired. They've been playing Christmas music over and over. Shop owners are tired from keeping their stores open so people could buy last minute gifts. After all of the insanity, at the end of this day, we're going to be tired.
Yep, tired is a good place to be at the end of a Christmas Day. A few naps throughout the day, a good long sleep after everyone has returned to their own homes and before we know it, tomorrow has arrived.
With all the anticipation for Christmas, we are never really prepared for the day after. For some of us, the Christmas tree and all of the decorations come down immediately. There are no more brightly wrapped gifts under the tree, the wrapping paper has been relegated to the recycling bin. Christmas cookies and treats have been pawed through and only the worst of the best are left on the plates. Christmas carols are finished for the year, with just a few people attempting to draw out the epiphany carols and help us keep the spirit of Christmas going. When I was growing up, that next day seemed like such a let down.
I see posts begging us to keep the Christmas spirit all year long. We do everything possible to draw the feelings of peace and joy out beyond the twenty-fifth of December.
But, I see something very special about the 'tired' that happens after all the gifts have been opened, the meal has been eaten, the songs have been sung and day is nearly over.
We rest. We rest in the knowledge that Jesus Christ was born over two thousand years ago. We celebrate the day of his birth, but he has not only been born, died and risen again; he lives within us so that we have that something to celebrate.
We will all sleep tonight and in the morning when we wake up, absolutely nothing has changed. We still celebrate living our lives with the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor. We might not talk about the nativity, the shepherds and angels or how Joseph and Mary walked to Bethlehem, but we talk about Jesus Christ, who is alive and living within our hearts. None of that changed with the celebration of his birth. We still have that wonderful anchor to hold on to.
So, I've quit feeling let down on December 26th, because I know that from that morning until next year on the morning of December 25th, I live with the knowledge that Jesus Christ lived and died, and rose to live again just for me. He did it for you. He even did all of that for those who don't believe. Even if Christmas is nothing more to them than a chance to gather family together and exchange gifts, Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth for everyone. It's the same as it has been for these last two thousand years.
For the rest of the day I will be tired and then tonight I will sleep. Tomorrow, I will wake up and look out at the next year and see that it is filled with opportunities for me to celebrate Christ's life in my own life and to tell others what that life means to me!