Christmas is over! Do I hear a sigh of relief from some of you who have been exhausting yourselves with baking cookies and elaborate desserts, addressing hundreds of Christmas cards, entertaining with impressive Christmas parties, and attending a series of Christmas celebration?
If this sounds familiar, perhaps you have expended so much time and energy on the trappings that you have not made time to keep Christmas itself.
The Sunday before Christmas, my pastor titled his sermon, “The Man Who Was Christmas.” He pointed out that Christmas is not the gifts we give and receive, the mountain of goodies with which we stuff our tummies, the lights and decorations, nor even the candlelight church services. Christmas is Jesus Christ, and he does not go away on Dec. 26 or even Jan. 7, the day after Epiphany. So, my friends, Christmas is not over if we are following Christ and have His spirit within us.
I am sure you have noticed how much kinder and more positive we tend to be during the Christmas season. We say we are full of the Christmas spirit. Does that mean we have the spirit of Christ? If so, we should have it the year round. Our hearts are open to giving to those in need. Do these needs still exist in April or July? We try to spread good cheer to those who are lonely. Does their loneliness magically disappear Dec. 26?
It is good that we honor Christ, as we celebrate His birth. It would be even better if we continued to honor Him 12 months of the year. God is love. Couldn’t we treat one another in a loving manner at all seasons, not just at Christmas?
A Christmas song I like very much, although we don’t hear it often, is called “The Secret of Christmas.” I first heard Bing Crosby sing it in an old movie, and I have a recording of it by Johnny Mathis. It reaches the conclusion, “The secret of Christmas is not the things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do all year through.”
No, Christmas is not over. Christ remains with us, wanting to use us as channels of His love to a hurting world. There will be many opportunities to spread God’s love in the 12 months before we again celebrate Christ’s birth. That is the true keeping of Christmas. As we begin the new year, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you a blessed and rewarding Christmas that never ends.