The family has gathered and gone, opened presents may still wait to find their new homes, the refrigerator is crammed with left overs. December 25 has come again, ready or not. Now it’s time to get things back to normal.
Or is it?
If your journey to Christmas was about a family gathering, keeping traditions, a new way to decorate the house, or indulging in a season of excesses; you might be glad Christmas is over.
However, if Christmas isn’t a day but a season of preparation, if your journey to Christmas was about making room in your heart for what Jesus came to share; Christmas is just beginning and refuses to let you return to what was “normal.” If you are like me, you need some help in living Christmas truth all year. Here are some ideas:
Don’t put away all the symbols.
I have a friend who keeps one subtle reminder of Christmas truth in every room. It can be a star, a nativity figurine, a Christmas card, a lamb, a crown, anything that reminds him to live the journey that overtook his calendar in December. This is especially helpful with children. Let them choose a symbol for their room. Talk about its meaning throughout the year.
Follow up on an opening for relationship, especially in family.
Did someone in your family voice a desire to connect more? Take the lead and make an invitation. Did a Christmas card or letter identify a hard time someone experienced? Save that card to remind you to pray for them. Then, send a note, text, or e-mail. Did you get to know a new neighbor in some random exchange? Be open to anything God wants to do with what seemed coincidental.
Choose a Bible/devotional reading goal that works for you.
The Word became flesh! Keep reading about what that meant as Jesus grew in wisdom and in favor with God and man. Focus on one of the gospels, story by story. YouVersion has topical devotional reading available on your mobile devices when you download their app. *Reflecting God will send you a daily devotional by e-mail. The first two weeks of 2017 are devotionals I wrote. Don’t wait for a Bible Study to begin after the New Year. Do something now.
Think about one way you reached out at Christmas and plan to do it again.
Did you volunteer in your community? Did you donate time or food? Keep doing something all year. Choose a family project. Go back to where you reached out at Christmas and see what they need after Christmas. Since God never stopped giving after Christmas, we shouldn’t either.
Which character of Christmas did you identify with the most this year?
Keep pursuing the truths that opened their hearts to submission, obedience, change of direction, or difficult journeys. Nothing ended when everyone left the stable. On the contrary, something transformative began. Shouldn’t Christmas do the same for you? Take you another way? Change your focus? What will make the difference for you? Don’t settle for a quick answer to that question. Let the answer unfold as God leads you.
Christmas isn’t over. Oh no! Every day is a new opportunity to understand God asking for room in our hearts so that Jesus can be born in us and transform our lives by His love. Put away the decorations, but keep their truths. Treasure them like Mary. Share them like the shepherds. Take a different journey because of them like the Wise Men. Then, Christmas will be more than a busy time on your calendar. Christmas will be the star that guides you through the New Year.
*If you would like to receive Debbie's devotionals for January 2-15, go to www.reflectinggod.com where you can read them or hear them or sign up to receive them as a daily e-mail and enjoy other writers throughout the year.