I was reading an article from Christian Globe when preparing my sermon for this Sunday. It reminded me that we as Christians are responsible to “keep Christmas well” throughout the year.
It’s hard not to feel a little let down on the day after Christmas.
A few days after Christmas one pastor was noticing that all the Christmas decorations at one of the local pharmacies had been removed. These decorations already had been replaced with Valentine’s Day trinkets and cards. Red boxes of candy, teddy bears with big hearts on them, red candles for romantic lighting. The clerk behind the counter was complaining to another of her co-workers, “I hate Valentine’s Day,” she said. “I never have a boyfriend and I hate Valentine’s Day.”
The pastor goes on to comment with these words, “Nothing is as over as Christmas when it’s over. The empty boxes, the pretty paper on the floor, the stray tinsel from the tree with which the cat has played and left abandoned on the sofa, the empty cartons of eggnog stuffed into the trash bag. Life has come back to normal, whatever that is, and it means that the diversion of the past few weeks, the frenzy and fuss, the lights and glitter are packed away once again like the star at the top of the tree; taken down and carefully wrapped, padded and protected in its ample box. And what is left? Fighting around the world, homeless people sleeping in door stoops, hungry people begging for food, drive-by shootings in St Louis or Chicago, worries about health, kids that concern us, jobs that wear us down. We’re back to where we left off before the holidays . . . Like the folks who were left in town after the Lone Ranger had been for a visit, we may ask out loud, “Who was that masked man?” Or better said, “Who was that babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, left lying in a manger?”
Well, we haven’t moved that far from Christmas yet. We’re just a few days past celebrating Christ’s birth. But there is the inevitable letdown. So much was packed into the four weeks of Advent. We can talk about keeping Christmas all year long, but who could handle it? We don’t want the clogged streets around the mall all year. And who could maintain the pace of eating? In fact, many of us are already planning our diets to begin January 2.
Actually, we need a little respite from all the busyness, don’t we? We read this week how Mary and Joseph weren’t allowed to reside permanently in Bethlehem and neither can we. It’s time to get back to the real world…
However, perhaps this year we can make the real world a little more real for us this coming year. The “real world” becomes a little more real when we become more involved with the hurting around us. At the Blue Christmas service this year I described a friend who spends her adult life as a social worker helping the homeless. Because of a few financial setbacks, she was going to be homeless herself. She was blessed by people in this congregation who helped her catch up on her rent before she was evicted.
I was told that it was a blessing to be able to help. “All we need is someone to show us the need,” they said.
I’ll make a deal with you all. If you are willing to play around in the “real world” with me, I’ll show you what the “real world” looks like in 2020. Amen??
Pastor Cory Hartz