The day after Christmas

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The day after Christmas is an interesting one. After months of commercial hype and after weeks of liturgical preparation, the day following Christmas can seem like a bit of a letdown. The trees are still sporting their lights and ornaments but, under the tree, the space which only a day ago was filled with brightly wrapped gifts is now empty. The stockings “hung by the chimney with care,” if they are still in their assigned places, are empty as well.

Stuffed to overflowing are the trash receptacles as they temporarily house the spent boxes, ribbons, wrapping papers, and Styrofoam of opened presents. The gifts themselves are scattered in various locations: some clothes are in drawers or hung in closets while others are lying in a spare bedroom. Children’s toys are in various states of use or neglect. The Christmas food is consumed with leftovers awaiting the occasional snack visits.

In homes with children, the kids are out of school and sleeping late or playing with toys, or checking out the new technologies. Parents who are accustomed to having kids at home only in the evenings after school are learning to adjust—as are the children. In homes without children, life has almost settled into normal already. After the visits from excited grandchildren, the house is quiet once again.

The department store Santas are gone now, having hung up their uniform until next year. And, even though there really are twelve days of Christmas and the day after Christmas is only Day 2 of the Christmas Season, for most people in the land, Christmas is over. It has come and gone. Attention now focuses on the college football bowl games and New Year’s Eve which is mere days away.

Merchants are beginning to tally up the results of the year’s most profitable season and success or failure will be announced shortly. There are, of course, the after-Christmas sales, the return of undesired gifts, and the exchange of clothes that were too big, or too small, or too ugly. Soon the credit card bills will begin to come and, for those who were too generous, or too undisciplined, the reminder of Christmas-past will linger all year long.

Still, there is, for most, a warm glow that remains. For those who understand and embrace the true meaning of Christmas—that Emmanuel, “God with us,” came into the world at a specific place and time in history to bring reconciliation between God and mankind—to restore that relationship that was lost in the Fall—there is a peace. There is the certain knowledge that God has not abandoned man, that he is still involved in the affairs of Earth and that, ultimately, all will be well. There will be, some day, “Peace on Earth.” In spite of what we see all around us, evil men and evil schemes will not have their way and the King who first came as a baby will someday come as a King who reigns.

For those in historic Christian communions, there are still eleven days of Christmas yet and there is more celebration to experience. But for those who have embraced the Reason for the Season, every day, in a very real sense, is Christmas.

David Epps is the pastor of Christ the King Church, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org