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Dateline December 26: The True Work of Christmas Begins Now

For some, Christmas is a difficult time. It may be that something painful happened in that time period, such as the loss of a loved one. For many, however, there is something that sets in after Christmas, a sort of doldrums, a case of the 'blahs,' experiencing a sort of letdown after Christmas.

One thing I have noticed in many professing Christian's lives post-Christmas, almost like an annual, strange season that begins somewhere around January 2 and may well continue until Spring Break, is this odd time when people are more prone to being cranky, to be grumpy, to major on minors. Smiles turn to frowns and complaining and grumbling set in. This happens in churches as well, I've noticed. I speak broadly of course, as this is not always the case, but serving for thirty-four years in churches has given me enough experience to say 'I think I have an observable pattern here!'

Some blame it on winter setting in. January and February can be cold and gloomy months, even in South Texas. Some blame it on the lack of light. Some don't blame, they just complain and this shouldn't be.

What happens for a lot of us is actually this: the magical feeling we experience over Christmas goes away, school and work resume, people go back to their schedules, and the brief break is over. The surprises and well wishes and warm hugs get lost in the shuffle of more things to do, and somewhere along the way, we lose sight of what Christmas was about in the first place!

Jesus came to us, that child in the manger, God the Son, Immanuel, God with us, came to us to show us the Way, the Truth and the Life. He came to give His life as a ransom for many. He came to set the captives free. He came to seek and save the lost. He came to give us life, and give it abundantly. The one who said 'I am the light of the world,' also said of His followers, 'YOU are the light of the world.' This is the point:

What follows the incarnation is the work of Christ setting captives free, redeeming the lost, calling people to repent and find true life in Him, ministering to the broken, the outcast, the forgotten, boldly proclaiming Truth, serving others, loving and blessing others and calling people into relationship with Him, into His Kingdom. 

This is the work He calls us to. We are co-laborers with Him. We who are in Christ, are called to abide in Him, to follow Him, to continually be filled with and empowered by His Spirit, to do the work He has called us to do: to make disciples, to preach good news to those living in darkness, to bless, to serve, to run well the race that is set before us. 

Many of us experience the post-Christmas blues because we never really understood Christmas in the first place: it's not about the gifts. It's not about the time off. It's not about the gatherings. Those are all nice and fun and enjoyable gifts of grace-but it's not about that. That moment to remember and refect, recenter and recharge, to worship and be still, is to fortify us and refocus us for the work that lies ahead. 

Now, the true work of Christmas begins. Jesus' earthly ministry begins with that child in the manger. It doesn't end there. And, the story we are called into doesn't end on Christmas, rather it is a time to begin anew. 

We all have a wonderful race set before us. There will be times that are beautiful, times that are challenging, times that are difficult and yes-even painful, but there is also joy and meaning and purpose ahead, and now, because we follow the Risen Savior, and He is still quietly turning the world right side up, one person at a time, and using flawed people like you and me as instruments in His Hands to do just that. 

This is no time for the 'blahs! This is no time for the 'bah-humbugs' either! This is the time for us to thank the Lord for the gift of His Son, for the time to celebrate and be refreshed, and for us to be about His business!

Now, the True work of Christmas begins!

Grace to You,

Pastor