Before and After

     Why do we love the atmosphere of the Christmas season?  The colorful festive decorations, the special music everywhere, the air of excitement as everyone seeks that perfect gift that will surprise and please someone we care for, and the anticipation as we prepare for that special day – all contribute to the general air of upbeat optimism.  But, I think the most enjoyable aspect of this time of year is the spirit of good will and warmth that seeps into all our activities and interactions.  It is the time when the general public comes closest to loving and caring for one another.  There are more smiles, greetings, and efforts to do something for someone else.  In fact, it reminds us a little of Jesus, who went about ‘doing good’!

     For the believer, this can be our experience throughout the year as we allow the Holy Spirit to shine through us in loving and caring acts of concern and support toward others.  In fact, Jesus said this was how all men should be able to ‘profile’ Christians – by our love for one another.

     What causes this atmosphere to be spoiled after Christmas?  The inevitable disappointments, the regrets of spending too much, eating too much, and expecting too much – all contribute to the clouds of disillusion.  Truly, it is the “little foxes that spoil the vine!” (Song of Solomon 2:5)

     Perhaps, instead of trying to fix it with yet another trip to the mall for the after Christmas sales, we need to return to our “first love”.  (Rev. 2:4) Remember how excited and happy you were when you first experienced His gift of salvation?  He is still offering forgiveness, continual companionship and guidance, along  with perfect peace when our minds are stayed on Him. (Isa.  26:3) There is also the gift of Eternal Life (!)   The thankful spirit that focuses on these things helps return us to our identity in Him – not the fickle festivities of this present world.

For further meditation, consider Phil. 3:20-21:

    ” For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Who will transform our lowly body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”