Well, Christmas has come.
And now it’s gone.
How did that happen? It came and left so quickly! I didn’t even decorate or watch Frosty the Snowman or drink hot cocoa. I had so many things to do! There was so much planning and preparation involved.
But, honestly, the preparation wasn’t the hard part. The gift-buying, cookie-baking, wrapping, decorating, and light-stringing wasn’t the hard part.
Now comes the hard part.
It’s the day after Christmas, and everything is the same as it was before Christmas. The Christmas parties, presents, and performances didn’t change anything. The whirlwind of Christmas activities and preparations didn’t make our problems disappear. It didn’t even make them better. It just made us forget our issues for a few weeks while we got lost in Christmas busyness.
But wasn’t the magic of Christmas supposed to fix everything?
Kevin McCallister found his family, and their arguments were resolved. Luther Krank learned the meaning of sacrifice and generosity. George Bailey and his family suddenly had enough money to make it through their rough patch. Susan Walker started to believe in Santa and ended up with a loving dad and wonderful new home.
But in real life, Christmas magic does nothing but make the day after Christmas even harder.
Now we must go back to work and start school again. We must pick up where we left off. Maybe you left off in an argument with a family member or in a battle with depression or in an unbearable friendship or at an exhausting job or with a physical disability.
We must again juggle difficult relationships, work with irritating co-workers, endure mean students, worry about finances, handle loneliness and depression, devote time to a sick loved one, and think about the unpleasant aspects of life.
For the few weeks before Christmas, we could ignore our problems and focus solely on Christmas. But now we must face reality: life is hard and it’s not getting any easier.
I know I’ve painted a bleak picture for you. I know I’ve expressed that the world is full of darkness and sadness.
But there is hope.
I can almost guarantee that Christmas magic won’t make your problems disappear because I don’t believe in Christmas magic.
I believe in the Christmas Miracle of Christ.
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Galatians 4:3-7 NKJV)
Christ didn’t come to remove the issues we face on earth.
He came to rescue us from the one thing that stood between us and the Father—sin.
He came to free us from the punishment we deserved—death.
He came to bring us to a place where issues don’t even exist—heaven.
Jesus was with you before Christmas, and He isn’t going anywhere now. He is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” That name lives on today. December 26th may always be a hard day for us because it reminds us of the evil world we live in, but it doesn’t have to depress us.
God can be our Father because Jesus was our substitute. Heaven can be our home because Jesus lived on earth. The Spirit can stay with us because Jesus walked among us. We can have life because Jesus died our death.
Without Christmas, we would have no hope of salvation. We must remember this hope on the 364 days of the year when we don’t feel merry and bright. Christ’s sacrifice doesn’t disappear with the Christmas magic. We have this hope forever, and we must cling to it throughout the year.