“When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.”
Luke 2:15-20 HCSB
It’s December 28th, three days after Christmas. I feel like Eyore, “It’s a blustery day.” New Mexico is under a state of emergency because of the snow. It is snowing here in Oklahoma. We didn’t get a white Chistmas, but we got a white after Christmas special. I have been looking at my Christmas decorations all weekend, thinking I really should get started taking things down. Even now, I have determined today will be the day I start, but I have chosen to write first. I tend to get the after Christmas blues every year. I love decorating for Christmas. I even start before Thanksgiving. My day of Christmas decorating is my official day of starting my Christmas Carol playlist. I don’t have a playlist for taking down and storing my decorations. Wonder if I should play Christmas Carols backwards?
Seems like everyone is starting to trickle back to work or at least gearing up for all the new projects that will begin in earnest next week. Accountants will get back to accounting preparing for tax season. Businesses are buttoning up deals and paying bills to close out the physical year. Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s back to work we go. Seems like the world stands still for one day of the year. Peace on Earth lasts 24 hours, and then it is back to our active lifestyle. Have you ever heard about the story of the World War 1 Chistmas Truce of 1914. There was a Christmas ad that alluded to it this Christmas season. A hundred years ago thousands of British, Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front. Most accounts suggest the truce began with carol singing from the trenches on Christmas Eve. However it began, in the hundred years since, the event has been seen as a kind of miracle, a rare moment of peace just a few months into a war that would eventually claim over 15 million lives.
The next day, December 26, 1914, the war resumed in earnest. Mustard gas, real bullets, and armor would claim millions of lives. Many who one day dropped their guns and sang with enemies were also killed by those said enemies.
And life goes on. Loved ones get sick. Family members are absent. Snow storms hit. Highways get closed. Lives are lost in a snow storm.
I am depressing you aren’t I? I am depressing myself. But ya know what? I’m not gonna let Christmas end! Christmas did not end the moment after Jesus entered our world as a baby. The party just began. The new mom and dad, the new baby begin receiving visitors. The worship comes calling!
The Angels had carried out their mission. They go back into heaven. They are in an unseen realm. Heaven had touched earth and a group of misfits gets inspired. They didn’t talk about what they should do. They didn’t contemplate what they should do. They didn’t go to their new iPhone or I watch and put it on their calendar. With haste they went to Bethlehem to see this thing the Angels had told them about. The Lord had revealed to these shepherds the Greatest Gift ever given and they went immedieately to receive it. They searched every feed trough they were told about. I gotta believe their were many animal feed troughs in this city at that time. Bethlehem was the City of David, and according to the Word of God, David would have had many descendants who would have had to go to register in Bethlehem. David had many wives and many children. Bethlehem was busting at the seams during this census. The shepherds would have had to jostle and hustle and bump their way through the streets. But they were not going to stop looking until they found “that which the Lord had made known to them.” Through desperate searching they found Mary and Joseph and the Baby lying in a manger. They knew the scene when they say it. The baby was still wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. As I said before, this was a sight they were accustomed to seeing. These shepherds had wrapped many a sacrificial lamb in strips of clothe and laid that lamb in a manger to keep it spotless and without blemish. These shepherds knew “The Greatest Gift ever given” the moment they saw it. These shepherds didn’t stop their mission until they worshipped. “and when they saw it, they made known what had been told them concerning this Child.” And after they worshipped, they went back to work. This time their work was different, or at least how they worked was different.
“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and see, just as it had been told them.” They had been changed for the better because they had seen “The Child.” They saw the Son of God become a human. The Word had become flesh and they saw it first hand. And from then on, I wonder the next time they wrapped a sacrificial lamb for temple sacrifice, did they think of Him?
Hi Ho Hi Ho it is off to work we go. Life goes on after all the tinsel and lights of Christmas, but that first Christmas can change our ordinary work day. Jesus became flesh and blood. He came to identify with our life. He came so we can celebrate and glorify and praise God all throughout the year.
My cure for the after-Christmas Blues, glorify and worship the King everyday of the year. Search Him out just as the shepherds did. They didn’t let busy, active people get in their way. They were on a mission to find the Son of God who had become flesh and they didn’t stop til they found him. That is how Christmas can go on and on throughout my whole year!