The gift giving is over, at least for the most part. Exchanges have been made, and/or returns have been completed. After Christmas sales have been shopped, and items purchased for next year’s festivities.
The tree is still up, still decorated, but in the past few days it seems to have lost its glow, its expectancy. It almost looks tired. It just isn’t shining the way it had been.
And neither are you.
Is that how you seem to feel when Christmas Day is over and done? All the preparations, the last minute gift purchases, the haste to get everything wrapped and under the tree…everything is over and done so quickly…
And instead of being excited about all the fun you had on Christmas Day; about how happy everyone was; and how it was so nice to be around people you loved and cared about…. Instead you’re depressed and sad, and wondering why the day just wasn’t what you thought it would be.
Or you’re wondering…now what!? “I’ve got nothing else to be excited about, because Christmas took all the joy out of me. All the hype about the season…it didn’t do a thing for me. That one day I’m supposed to be happy and in love with everyone…well it didn’t work very well. Life is still the way it was before. Christmas didn’t change a thing.”
And suddenly you just want to cry; you want to just throw that fancy decorated tree out the window so you won’t have to see the reminder of another unhappy holiday.
You’re not alone, you know. Others feel the same way. It’s not unusual. There are many reasons. You may feel Christmas was over too quickly, and you didn’t really get to enjoy it because you were trying too hard to make sure everyone else did. Or you feel like there was something more you could’ve done to add just a bit more sparkle to the day; one more gift you should’ve bought for someone.
Or maybe it’s just because after all the excitement, the anticipation, and the frenzy of that one day, suddenly there’s nothing left to look forward to except the same old routine, the same life you feel is just passing you by. You’re lonely and tired of being lonely.
What happened to the magic and the hope of Christmas Day? Have you forgotten it that quickly? Where’s that excitement you felt as a child for the next several days after Christmas, when you were exploring all the toys you’d gotten from Santa?
That little child grew up. And life happened. And it wasn’t what you thought it was going to be. And even the excitement and fun of Christmas, the holiday you always loved the most, just wasn’t magical any more.
But it can be. If you let it. If you stop to remember the reason for Christmas. It’s not about how many or how expensive gifts are, or whether you do traditional wrapping or use gift bags. It’s not about how your Christmas tree looks, or how many lights there are on your front lawn. It’s not about making cookies, or if your child believes in Santa Claus or the Elf on the Shelf.
Christmas is still about the birth of a tiny baby over 2,000 years ago. A baby who was the Son of God. Who came to our world to bring love and salvation. It’s hard to remember sometimes when we’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, and all the material aspects. And yes, I’m just as guilty as the next person.
But as the angels said on that long ago night, “we bring you glad tidings of peace and joy and good will to all mankind.” And it wasn’t just for that one night, that one day. It was for forever.
Somehow we’ve let the material trappings of Christmas overshadow the reason for Christmas. That reason should live in our hearts every day.
It should. But it doesn’t always. Because perhaps we’ve forgotten the magic, and what it’s all about.
Instead of being downhearted that Christmas is over, or glad that it is because you were miserable, think about what you can do to make the true spirit of Christmas last all year. An unexpected phone call or visit, a small gift of coffee or cookies, a kind word to a stranger…all the things people talk about doing at Christmas…and then no more. Why not do it all year?
Christmas isn’t just a holiday. It’s a state of mind that’s decorated more at one time of the year than another.
If we can only see it like that. Try it.
“So now what?” becomes “What can I do for someone else now?”
You may be surprised at the results, in both your life and someone else’s.