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What Happened After Christmas?

What Happened After Christmas?

Christmas is such a high. The gifts, the family, the food, the Savior – it’s the pinnacle of the year for many of us. No doubt, it was somewhat of a high for the cast of characters at the first Christmas, as well. Let’s see…angels, heavenly host singing, an immaculate conception, a birth that fulfilled prophecies…yeah, I’d say it was a bit of an event for them, too.

But no one usually asks: What happened after Christmas?

It’s a question worth pondering. The angels are gone, the shepherds went home, and it’s just you, your hubby, and…

The Savior of the World.

And you’re supposed to raise him.

No pressure, or anything.

I mean, you’re now the mother and father (well, step-father, technically) to Emmanuel, God With Us. To the I AM. To the Messiah everyone you know has been waiting for for centuries. Oh, and by the way – he’s a baby. Your first baby. You’ve never done this before with even a human baby, and you’re both supposed to somehow raise a God-baby? Wait. Isn’t there supposed to be a manual for this?

I wish I could’ve been there after Christmas.

Did Mary struggle with breastfeeding issues? Was Joseph the overprotective type? Did the in-laws try to give unwanted parenting advice? Did Mary snap at Joseph after being awakened by the baby every hour throughout the night? Because the truth is that they had to go back and live real life. They had to leave the appearances by seraphs and the miraculous declarations by saints in the temple, and they had to do poopy diapers and midnight feedings and laundry.

We know that they left the (likely) cave of Jesus’ birth and moved into a house, because Matthew 2:11 tells of the Magi “coming to the house” to see the child Jesus. So, after the miracle of the virgin birth, after the skies split open with the glory of heaven singing – the family went back to regular old life.  They had to struggle to make ends meet, and worry about their child’s education, and do all of the things that parents living in this world have to do.

But they had to do it all, the mundane, challenging, frustrating tasks of raising another human being, while keeping in mind all the time who they were raising. Their lives had to have been filled with a fantastic mixture of the routine and the completely original. Cleaning the dirty hands of the One who made the earth. Comforting the Light of the World from the fear of the dark. Feeding the Bread of Life. Washing the clothes of the One who would wash away the world’s sins

What happened after Christmas was what should happen to all of us.

We should leave the joy of the Christmas season to go back to everyday life. Back to the grindstone. But we should do it with an awareness of glory. A vision that our every moment, our every breath, is the opportunity to engage with the Lord of the universe. Jesus said, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). The omnipresent God is with us and in us every minute, once we have chosen to accept Him. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit – the third person of the triune God – to be closer to us than He ever could be in person: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth… he lives with you and will be in you. …You will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:16, 20). Mary and Joseph had Jesus in person, but we have something even better. We have his Spirit in us.

After Christmas, for Mary and Joseph, had to be a bizarre amalgamation of the ordinary and the extraordinary. Raising God amidst the earthly stressors of life. Parenting Grace while needing that very grace to get the job done. Keeping in mind the miracle of Christmas as they endeavored in the muck of everyday mess to prepare Jesus for the bigger miracle God had in store for mankind.

We, though, have an even better opportunity. We get to live, in our everyday mess, with that miracle already accomplished.  Because of Jesus’ work in bridging the gap between us and God, between our dirtiness and God’s perfect holiness, we now get to live, every day, with Jesus’ Spirit in us. A part of us. We don’t have to be the parents, because He is now raising us. The extraordinary, here inside us, in ordinary life.

After Christmas, Mary and Joseph’s lives were changed: God came into the midst of everyday life. The holy and the earthly, intertwined, in everything they did. Mary and Joseph, after Christmas, had a new, profound, universe-changing purpose, because of their relationship with Jesus in their daily routine.

After Christmas this year, what will happen to you?

One Response to “What Happened After Christmas?”

  1. Harriet Doty says:

    I have often thought about Mary and Joseph in relation to what your blog mentions and how awesome a responsibility they were blessed with but also at the same time had to deal with the everyday challenges we all encounter here on earth. You did an amazing job of putting those thoughts into words.

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