December 26th. It’s a day that often gets overlooked, and for good reason. It’s the day after.
After all the flurry of preparations, of presents, of travel, of family and friends and food. And I know some of you (maybe even a lot of you) are breathing a sigh of relief today, on this day after Christmas. You did it! Holiday achieved.
Or maybe, if you’re like some of my best friends, you’re gearing up for the next round(s) of celebrations, because your family is ginormous, or you’ve got a parent who often works on Christmas, so you have the festivities later.
Wherever you find yourself today, though, I invite you to stop for a minute and look around. Do you feel that warmth? The quiet peace floating around? No? You might have to search for it a bit, because it sometimes gets lost in the aftermath. But it’s there, tucked under the surface of this day. I like to call it the Afterglow. It’s like when you get up and there aren’t any lights on except for the Christmas tree, and as you blink through your sleep-fogged eyes, there’s this golden glimmer filling the room. It’s subtle and unassuming, much like I think it was that first Christmas, and the day that followed it.
After the shepherds left Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus to go spread the news, Mary took time to look for the Afterglow. It’s one of my favorite verses in the Bible:
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
-Luke 2:19 (NIV)
I know this is a hard season for a lot of people. We seem to find a lot of heartache around this time of year, and having lost both of my grandfathers in different Decembers, I’m not immune to the sadness that can creep into Christmas.
But Mary had the right idea, and I’d encourage us all to follow her wise example. Find the treasures that you can glean from this season (and if there weren’t any, take today to create one if you can!), and ponder them in your heart. The Lord gives good gifts to His children—none better than the gift of His own Son—and that is the best reason to rejoice in the Afterglow as this Christmas quietly slips into the rest of winter. Don’t let it pass unnoticed.
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