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    Life After Christmas

    Thursday, December 27, 2018

    As I clean up the wrapping paper, fold up the gift bags (any bag reusers out there?) and listen to my Michael Buble Christmas album one more time, my mind considers Mary and what her life looked like after that first Christmas.

    It’s always bittersweet after Christmas, isn’t it? Half of the joy of Christmas is the anticipation, the waiting, the celebration of the “almost not yet.” But the day after Christmas always comes.

    Just like when our families pack up and return home after a holiday, Mary’s company left her as well. The shepherds “returned, glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:20). The wise men “returned to their own country” (Matthew 2:12). Mary is left with her humble husband, newborn Christ child, and her pondering heart. She reflects on all that had been. I believe God had allowed this time of reflection for Mary in order to prepare her for what was to come.  

    Did you continue reading after the Christmas story? . . . Joseph is warned in a dream about Herod. So they flee in the middle of the night and escape into a foreign country, running for their lives. Unsettled.

    Herod “gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under” (Matthew 2:16). Death.

    The truth is that the message of Christmas continues after December 25th. But this message isn’t always wise men worshipping with expensive gifts, angels heralding anthems of glory, or shepherds praising God in the stable. This message includes death, running, rejection, denial, suffering. And resurrection. And “I’m coming again soon.” And hope.

    Just like Mary, we may never know what is to come. But God knows (“then what was spoken through [Jeremiah/Isaiah] was fulfilled” Matthew 2:17/3:3). When the difficult times come and they will come, hold onto those ponderings in your heart. Ponderings of what God has done and what God has promised.

    Mary had a lot happen in her life after that first tender Christmas in the smelly stable. But she clung to what had been, what will be, and Who is.

    As you put away your Christmas decorations and send your loved ones off to their homes, hold on to the Ponderings of Christmas all year round.

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