“…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger…”
- Luke 2:7a
So by now, I’m in Iowa doing the same thing you are doing. Trying to figure out what in the world just happened yesterday! Months and months of buying, planning, shopping, budgeting, and fretting all culminated in this one magnificent day and now…it’s over…again.
December 26 always seems like such a weird day to me and I call it the Day After Syndrome. I mean, don’t know if I feel relieved or bummed out. I’m not sure if I should quickly put away my Christmas decorations or be like my friend Brianne and keep them up until Valentine’s Day. Christmas music seems annoyingly out of place and songs I was singing just hours before are now noise to my brain. The site of red, green, and white are the equivalent of a red cape to a bull at some points in the day, but then you see your daughter playing with all her toys and you kinda want to snuggle back into the Holiday feeling a little longer.
It’s a weird day.
I bet it was even weirder for Mary and Joseph.
Up until this point there was, an immaculate conception, awkward conversations with a fiancé, a visit to a family member’s house where a baby jumped in the womb when Mary came near, donkey rides to Bethlehem, bad news at the Hotel front desk, battling oxen for space in a barn, a heck of a lot of pushing and screaming, catching a baby, cutting the umbilical cord, cleaning the baby, wrapping it up, and then trying to get some sleep on a dirt floor, but not really sleeping because every movement the baby made woke you up. But now…it’s the next day. Now what?
Mary and Joe don’t know the shepherds are coming. They don’t know Wisemen are camel-ing their way across foreign lands to visit. They don’t know an emergency trip to Egypt is eminent. All they know is that at this moment in front of them lies a baby who angels told them is the Son of God.
Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly what they did in those moments, but I’m fairly confident I know. I believe, they picked up Jesus and fed, consoled, held, burped, and loved Him. They did what any parent does after being given the gift of a child; they enjoyed every minute of it. Only for them, their minutes were spent tending to the Son of God and basking in the wonderment of His plan being started through them.
We miss out on this in our lives all the time.
Mary and Joseph were not paralyzed looking at this baby in a manager waiting for the angels to tell them to pick Him up and feed Him. In the same breath, we don’t need an angel from heaven directing every step of our lives either. We simply need to slow down and do what God intended for us to do with the life and gifts He’s given us. Enjoy them.
Christmas aside, everyday we hurry by opportunities to enjoy the gifts God has given us. We rush to work at the cost of our children. We hurry to the Internet to talk to our “friends” instead of enjoying real time with our husband. We eat meals in our cars by ourselves instead of sitting down together as a family. We allow “life’ to get in the way of a relationship with God. We choose a couple more hours at work instead of an hour at a Small Group. All these different ways that distract us from the gifts and opportunities God has laid in front of us to enjoy.
Maybe we need to rewind the DVR on our lives and look back at all that God has done. It may serve as a healthy reminder of God’s greatness and open our eyes to what God may be doing right now.
Don’t let yourself live each day with the Day After Syndrome trying to figure out what’s next. Because sometimes what’s next was given to you yesterday to enjoy today. Open your eyes, pick up the gift, and start doing what God has called you to do.
PS: 364 more days till Christmas!