“The child’s father and mother marvelled at
what was said about him.”
Luke 2:33 (NIV)
After many special events in life there is a let down. We have been excited about the party, the wedding, the 50th birthday celebrations or other unique event. Everyone has put so much of themselves into the preparation and suddenly it is all over and we find ourselves restless and perhaps even a little disappointed.
By experience I know that when I have done a wedding and the happy couple are off in the church office with me signing the license and church register, the bride will sometimes comment, “It happened so fast. I cannot believe it is over so soon.”
The preparations for the wedding took many months, perhaps even a couple of years from the time of the engagement through the engagement party, then the choice of dress for the big day, designing, printing, and mailing invitations, bridal showers, the booking of the banquet and planning the feast, and the rehearsal party following the rehearsal in the church. Suddenly the ceremony is over in half an hour and it feels odd. All the months of work is gone in a few moments.
When it comes to many special events the people who partied the night before wake up with a hang over. Their heads ache, their mouth feels like the fuzzies and they wonder if the celebration was worth the price of the day after.
Even Christmas with all of the wonderful meals, seeing family all together, lots of photos taken, great conversations, beautiful decorations complimenting the atmosphere, can leave us with the feeling of disappointment as we look at all of the garbage to put out, decorations to come down, and work tomorrow.
Our Lord’s parents did not feel a let down following the great day of the child’s birth. They went on wondering, sensing amazement, and full of joy at the miraculous event in which they participated. They knew that God had come in this child and they were privileged to guide Jesus through His formative years to the time when he would leave the family business and start His public ministry.
The only glitch for the proud parents was a small statement by the godly old man who greeted them when they presented Jesus in the temple a week following His birth. The old man said remarkable things about this child that thrilled the young couple. However he then looked at Mary and told her that the child would break her heart (Luke 2:29-35).
Why did the old man Simeon conclude the awesome comments with a negative? Well, the child was destined to die for the sins of others and a brief warning was spoken in the context of great joy. If we are to survive the let down following Christmas we must remember the reality of Easter when Jesus suffered, died, and rose again.
Yes, we celebrate with exceeding joy, we sing glorious Christmas carols, we feast and celebrate the coming of the promised One. Any sense of sorrow following Christmas must be swallowed up in the prospect of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. So when the decorations come down and the carols are no longer heard, rejoice that the child grew to manhood and accomplished salvation for the sheep.
What is next? Why Easter of course, and the victory over death and all of our other enemies. Go on celebrating Christmas with your eye on Easter and you shall be truly blessed.