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Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Every Day

My Christmas tree still stands lit in my living room. I've never been the kind that has started taking it down the day after Christmas.

Maybe because sometimes it's just been up a week, and I enjoy looking at it.

Even after all of the presents are gone from underneath the tree, there's something beautiful about that Christmas tree that gives me hope.

The day after Christmas can be an empty one.

For weeks, we've looked forward to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day...

maybe because of the family get-togethers, or the good food, or because we've had our eye on a piece of jewelry that we just KNOW our significant other is going to purchase.

We tend to idolize Christmas sometimes...

even though past experience tells us that it'll be loud and chaotic and chances are there will be arguing and a general lack of goodwill at some point, Christmas offers a sense of hope in mankind.

But then the gifts are open and the food is all ate and the lights seem a little dimmer...

And nothing was what we thought it would be.

I wonder if Mary had this same sense of lackluster.

The miracle birth surely wasn't what she had expected.

Alone and young and probably cold, surrounded by stinky animals, this surely wasn't the birth plan she had envisioned when the angel came and told her she was favored by God.

And in the days and weeks that followed...

Simeon telling her that a sword would pierce her soul. Fleeing for their lives from a crazy king.

Christmas, come in the form of a babe, love coming down...

it surely wasn't what she imagined.

Truly, though...

nothing really is.

It's funny to me that the New year comes directly after Christmas. We spend a month or two months looking forward to the magic of Christmas, are often let down, and then are immediately given the opportunity to anticipate making ourselves better.

We tend to live our lives in a whirlwind of looking for the next big thing... the next great event... the next opportunity to have a "better" day or week or month or life.

Even before the paper has been bagged up, we're thinking of returning the packages that we don't like.

Looking ahead to the "new and improved" us that will surely come with the new year...

and then a week goes by... or two... and it's the same old same old...

Except it doesn't have to be. Christmas doesn't have to be over just because it's no longer December 25. That hope and joy?

We can truly have it all year long...

when we let go of the expectations and start looking for the unexpected.

The unexpected Savior, who appeared in a manner no one would have imagined...

The unexpected opportunity to love each other, to love someone greater than ourselves, to love more than we expected we could.

The unexpected light that breaks through the darkness, even after the one bulb blown on the strand of Christmas lights has caused the entire strand to become dark.

Christmas is not a day.

Christmas is a way of life.

It's a way to look for the small...

The dirty...

The less than...

And realize that they are all enough, because love came down.

And it didn't just come down for one moment in time...

It came down, and then was raised up on a tree, taking on all of the darkness and unmet expectations of a sin filled world...

so that we could have hope, and anticipate a better life.

An eternal life.

So the tree will stay up for a few more days, and the nativity set will stay on my entertainment stand throughout 2017, not because I'm lazy...

but because I want to remember that even in the days that don't meet my great expectations, He does.

I want to remember that love came down, and it's now my responsibility to foster that love in those who come in contact with me.

I want to remember that He chose the foolish things... the things that don't always make sense... to bring forth His plan.

The little babe, lying in a manger, is now a soon coming King, and when He returns, everyone will see Him for who He is.

More than we could ever expect.






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