"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in a manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (Luke 2: 16-20)
The days following Christmas Day can seem to be a bit anticlimactic. Shopping done, cards sent, presents opened, meals prepped and served. Now what? We spend so much time and energy preparing for those few hours on Christmas morning that we are too exhausted to appreciate the real miracle God has performed.
The pastor that counseled Matthew and I before we were married said to us if couples put as much thought, time, energy, and money (when necessary) into their marriage as they did on their wedding day, there would be far fewer divorces. I think these wise words hold true for our view of Christmas as well. How well do we live into the miracle of God in the flesh after the wrapping paper has been cleaned up? The shepherds bore witness to the miracle of Christ and spread the good news, amazing all that were told. That seemingly ordinary night would now mark their lives forever into two distinct parts – the before and after. They saw the face of God and their lives would never be the same.
Are we living in the after? We face an uphill battle when society tells us Christmas begins with shopping on Thanksgiving Day and ends by noon on Christmas Day when the radio stations stop playing Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bell Rock for the umpteenth time and go back to their regularly scheduled programming. But as Christians, we know that God calls us not to conform to the world, but to transform it. Mary treasured and pondered the miracle of God. Do we set aside time in the after of the hustle and bustle to be still with God and treasure and ponder what an amazing gift we have been given?
The coming of God in the flesh was so monumental, it marks time for all of humanity. The before and after. God came to live among us and life will never be the same. Let’s purpose to live into the after of Christmas Day, knowing it’s not the end. It’s the beginning.