The Day After Christmas
Not only did this “mere trifle” change how we viewed Santa Claus, it also began to shape how we view Christmas. USA today published the “Reflections of the worlds oldest man on Christmas.” The world’s oldest man, at 114, is Walter Breuning of Great Falls, Montana. He has experienced 114 Christmas and this is what he had to say.
“Christmases never meant very much to our family. People never had no money. Sometimes you wonder why they spend so much money. But if they’ve got the money to do it, let ‘em do it. I still belong to the Methodist Church…I haven’t been to church for a few years. You can’t see, you can’t hear. I believe in all that (the after life). Yes, I imagine so. It’s possible, you know. Everything’s possible nowadays.”
After 114 years the message of the world is the same, “To have meaning at Christmas you have to have money to buy stuff.” It is sad that after all these years there is still a sense of meaninglessness about Christmas, even though “I believe in all that stuff.” It is now two days after Christmas and the world is gearing up for the New Year celebrations. How quickly we will forget that we had just sung carols extolling the wonders of God’s gift to the world. A friend of mine just posted on Facebook, “I am so glad the radio station has stopped playing Christmas music.” Christmas is a time of excess in gift buying and New Years a time of excess in partying. The world celebrates the two with equal value though with different energy.
I wonder what it was like the day after Christmas for Joseph and Mary. The angels had come the night before for celebration; the shepherds had come to worship and then moved into the streets with excitement retelling the news; and Mary was exhausted from giving birth and then with all the visitors. But the day after was not a time of rest. Joseph had to go and pay taxes. He might have had some money to get a small room for Mary to rest or they may have had to head straight back to Nazareth. Mary pondered these things in her heart, but I am sure the necessity of caring for a newborn afforded her little time of self-reflection. In the midst of the tedium of life the wonder of what God had done could have been easily forgotten.
I have now experienced 52 Christmases. With each passing year I struggle with the balance of worship and the emphasis on gifts. I enjoy the gifts and the giving, but I am so afraid that in the midst of it all the wonder of the story will be lost. My heart becomes heavy as I see people slip away from worship because they are so caught up in the gifts. I get a knot in my stomach hoping people will want to tell the story and then don’t. I stop and listen to people who want to find meaning but all they can say is, “I believe in all that, yes I imagine anything is possible these days.” Well, today I am going to stop and listen for the voice of angels singing. I am going reflect on God’s gift to a dark and lonely world. I am going to worship with thanksgiving for the light that has come into my life. I am going to be grateful for a loving Father who has lavished His love on my family and me and has blessed me with so much more then money can buy. That’s what I am going to do today.
I’m Just Saying…..