Monday, December 30, 2013


Christmas Day.

The Aftermath.

Do you feel like I do after a rather frantic pre-lim, followed by a full day of family, fun, and food? (Lots and lots of food??)

A little tired, a little worn out – truth be told, a little let down.

There's so much excitement building up to Christmas Day.  There's the decorating and gift-getting, the buying of the tree and hanging of ornaments, the grocery-shopping and cooking and baking.

And then, before you know it – The Day arrives.

Eating and talking, eating and opening gifts, eating and watching television, eating and napping – and whatever else your family does traditionally! 

But, I always feel a little disappointed when it's all over. 

Did everything measure up to my expectations?

Sometimes, things fall flat – I've had years when sickness stole some of the joy, and when family tension cut into the fun. I've had years when someone didn't receive that special gift.

I'm chagrined to admit this – but the Norman Rockwell picture I have in my mind of the *perfect* Christmas Day sometimes ends up looking like a Picasso.


This year was quiet and enjoyable. 

But, after the day is done, I am wistful and a bit sad. 


I got to pondering about this…(seems that I like to ponder over a lot of stuff, huh?!)

Wasn't the first Christmas Day like this, too?

The prophets had predicted the coming of the Messiah for centuries.  The nation of Israel had suffered under slavery, oppression, conquest, and exile. The Jewish people had groaned forever, it seemed - as they longed and looked for their Deliverer.

The one who would rescue them from it all.

And then, it's time – and God performed a miracle.  He became a human.

Except, for most of the world, most of humanity, The Day was more like any other day. It wasn't ushered in with trumpet blasts and angels surrounding the world in a loud chorus.  There weren't crazy earthquakes or darkened skies - there wasn't a coronation, or even a christening. 

There was just a manger – and a baby wrapped in cloths.

A letdown.

No hoopla, no hero, no high and mighty king.

Jesus didn't measure up to expectations.

People didn't even know about Him – the HIM, with a capital "H" – for years. And even then, when Jesus began His ministry, most people were angered or disappointed or apathetic. 

I take a look at my own life.

Does Jesus disappoint me?  Does He let me down?

What about when the casks of water stay water, instead of turning into wine?

What about when the storm is not stilled, and the waves just get bigger and stronger?

What about when the healing doesn't come, or the prodigal doesn't return home, or the net doesn't burst with too many fish to count?

What about then?

Does Jesus disappoint me?  Does He let me down?

Truth? – Sometimes He does.

He does when I make Him into my own image.  When I try to shape Him and mold Him to make Him fit into my life.  When I squeeze Him in among all the "important" things that I do.  When I look for something from Him, in my way and my timing.

He does when I neglect to know Him as He really is.

The REAL Jesus is the unpredictable, the surprising, the mysterious – the out-of-the-box Savior.

You see, when it comes to Jesus, you have to know Him – really know HIM– underneath the selfish definitions you might come up with.  Because He doesn't fit when we compare Him to our expectations. 

But when you truly open your heart to JESUS – hold on to your hat!

He's like a heavenly optical illusion.

Look at those swaddling cloths – they're really the robes of a King.  The lowly manger was really a throne room.  Look closely - baby fingers and toes were one day destined to receive nails for the sins of mankind. Unfocused eyes had once, and would again, behold the glory of the Almighty God the Father face to face.

The promised Messiah had truly arrived.  The Deliverer that the world really needed – not just the temporary ruler they were looking for.


You know, the more I think about it, the Aftermath of Christmas Day is what it's all about.  Everything that happened AFTER.  Like the cross and the resurrection…

And the truth of the matter is this – Jesus really doesn't disappoint. 

It's me.

Thinking I want more from Him, I settle for less of HIM. Thinking I want to do more for Him, I settle for less of HIM. Thinking I need this and that right now, I settle for less of HIM.

Trying to wrap Jesus up in cloths that I have made to swaddle Him...

...I end up binding the King.

Oh dear Lord Jesus, how I just want more of You in my heart and my life. I do not wish to limit You, I do not wish to fit You into my expectations.

Surprise me, disturb me, challenge me, whittle me.

Make me into something worthy of a King.

The unfailing love of the LORD never ends!
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day.  

"Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
He will delight in obeying the LORD.
He will not judge by appearance
nor make a decision based on hearsay.
He will give justice to the poor
and make fair decisions for the exploited.
The earth will shake at the force of his word,
and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.
He will wear righteousness like a belt
and truth like an undergarment... the earth will be filled with people who know the LORD.

In that day the heir to David’s throne
will be a banner of salvation to all the world...

He will gather the scattered people...from the ends of the earth."

(From Isaiah 11, NLT)

"'Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?'" (Isaiah 43:19, ESV)

"'And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.'" (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)

How do you handle the aftermath of Christmas Day?  Will you let the surprising Savior start something new?

(SIDENOTE:  Next Monday I will be officially *announcing* my Word for the Year, 2014!  Please come back and find out what God laid on my heart!)

Linked today with:


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. First: This right here is one of my favorite Sharonisms ever:
    "I'm chagrined to admit this – but the Norman Rockwell picture I have in my mind of the *perfect* Christmas Day sometimes ends up looking like a Picasso."

    I nodded my head in agreement whilst trying to do a staying O for the poetry and imagery of the thing. Well done.

    And from one whose Christmas is too often a Norman Picasso, I understand the entire post. I loved where you went with it, and if I had read it before doing my lesson for yesterday, it would have been the jump off for a lesson.

    As always, well done.
    Trying to figure out a way to get back in blog land because I have missed it. It isn't just the writing; it's the reading. However, when I'm too bummed to write, I'm often too bummed to read.

    Please call Lucy the Psychiatrist. I have a nickle and need some therapy.

    Happy Belated birthday to YOUR mom and I hope you had a great Christmas and will have a wonderful New Year. I know there's a lot on your plate. I just wish for lots of comfort food and dessert to be included on it.

  2. Blessings of the season, Sharon - and ditto Debbie's remarks about Norman Picasso. Rockwell I get - and mourn the loss of the down to earth innocence of his images in our contemporary society. It's all upside-down Picasso these days - and that does no favors for my occasional bouts with OCD. But, though the "Day" is past and a new year looms before us - I am still cuddling close to my "Word" for 2013 - HOPE. His mercies are new "every Day" - whether I deck the halls or not. Holding fast to that and waiting on Him for so very much in 2014. Looking forward to your "Word" next week. I love that - I get one, too - each year. Some years it's the same one which often suggests that I didn't learn my lessons from the previous year. But - sometimes it is indicative of a protracted "season". I have a sneaking suspicion of where my "word" will be going this year. I'll be interested to see what you share. Love walking His Way with kindreds like you and Deb and so many other precious sisters in our Blogland. Enjoy you new year - Ed is off and New Year's day is our anniversary. To thankful the Lord has provided a couple of gift cards so we can make a special day of it after all. God is good. Simple pleasures be yours, too.


  3. Love this writing, Sharon. I got caught up in the busyness of Christmas this year sand found myself struggling with staying in His presence. Fitting Him in instead of fitting things in around Him. Coming here brings my focus back where it belongs.

  4. Excellent post, Sharon. and a great analogy. Thank you for sharing your insights. They always uplift.

  5. I think we all can relate to much of what you've written here, Sharon. And you said it all so well.

    In my younger years, I often felt that "let-down" you spoke of after Christmas Day, but time and age have mellowed me and I now find it the most peaceful time of year, the days between Christmas and New Year's Day. I enjoy staying indoors and enjoying the afterglow.

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  6. Those are some of the things I pondered following Christmas as well. I realized that Christmas and Christ's humble start was only the beginning! Incredible things started that day in the manger, but 33 years beyond Bethlehem, the unbelievable gift of His sacrificial love was lived out for all of us...amazing!

  7. Wonderful analogy, Sharon, as always. I used to feel the letdown too. Now I just relish in the relaxation and rest of having everything about Christmas completed. I find this a wonderful time to sit back and reflect on the soon ending year and praying about the upcoming one.
    God bless, dear friend, and Happiest of New Years to you and yours!

  8. I hear this, Sharon. Loud and clear. Good words for the after Christmas blahs, friend :). And Happy New Year too.

  9. Many of us were disappointed in our christmas day and we were not the Norman Rockwell icon. At least we all survived, and as we look forward to 2014 may we endeavor to love one another as the Scriptures tell us to do. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

  10. Glad to hear you had a nice Christmas, albeit a quiet one, but I do know what you mean about expectations of it and how we want it to be "ideal" when often it is not and the let down afterwards, even if it was an "ideal" day. I do agree with what you said, we tend to make Jesus into our own image and that is when we seem to be disappointed when things don't work out the way we want them to. Definitely want to live in his will, not my expectations of what that should be! I hope you have a Happy New Year, Sharon!


  11. Sharon, once again you've hit on something I have thought about at times. Yes I too have been disappointed because Jesus didn't measure up to my ideal. It seems I have had my own share of the blues or blahs lately as I have been soaking up the remaining days of my vacation .

  12. Sharon,

    Wow you have hit the proverbial nail on the head with this post. How often I feel much the same way after the expectations of Christmas end and the decorations come down and everything appears once again to be plain, without color and the freshness that comes from celebration. Perhaps that is why we love Christmas so much. We get to see thing through new eyes much like your post has done for me. Truly unforgettable and life changing. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  13. Awesome Sharon! From some chuckles to absolute tears trickling down my face (which I might have missed the impact of this had I not continued all the way through to your ending when after reading your preliminary thoughts I wanted to rush and comment before I loose my response) but I waited and completed the entire post first.

    Now my tears have dried and just a sniffle remains ... as I tell you how I love you,how I love your gift of writing (no jealousy though just total delight in every one that I've had the privilege to read), how I love your honesty,your vulnerability, I just love you! And I'll share no more on that emotion or on your post than to say, well done, my sister in Christ, a reflection of the AFTER ,,, happily ever after with all that's encompassed in Our Messiah, Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. WOW!
    Truly a Rockwell to Picasso painting! A splash of the REAL and the MIRACULOUS!

    I was only going to say that (of course) my Christmases aren't the same as they used to be (not even close to the ones as a child) --- not like you described either
    so with all the hoopla that builds up to CHRIST in Christmas, that I no longer have, there is no day after blahs ... but only the HOPE of what is to come. Some how that HOOP becomes a LA-LA-LA of expectancy of more for me after that day, and it stirs up something that comes alive once again, a gift that starts and keeps on giving ... I search and stir up all of the letdowns or ashes of the past (whether it's pains or trials or tribulations or storms or old habits that I must break) and I HOPE that this time, I will get it right and I won't be disappointed.
    Usually not in Him (as you expressed but perhaps it is) however in ME,disappointed in me and how I am fairing when I have so much and have been so blessed and now what? Expectancy? You turned the tables in this one and God reached in and struck a cord within when the tears burst forth. But I realized, I'm not alone. And Jesus, has done so much more for me and become such a wonder of so much! Yet, I guess I needed to truthfully admit as you did that I had expectations not met (never thinking they were in God). But you're right. We cannot box Him into our concepts, perspectives and limitations,He's so much more and the mystery just continues to be revealed as we open our eyes to His eyes ... as a babe to the One on the Cross ... to the One who rose and conquered it ALL ... to the One seated on His Heavenly Throne ... He is LORD!

    Bravo and many blessings as you step into 2014! May it be all you hope and expect and then so much more for you and your loved ones! can't wait to learn your "new word" ... looking forward to 2014, more of Him and you in my life,

    Love, H.U.G. and Happy New Year too!

  14. Amen!!

    Thanks so much for your sweet comments on Arise 2 Write. It's a journey and I am trusting God for success, but know I will face more battles along the way. I am thankful for the prayers and encouragement from you and many others.


  15. I am learning to enjoy after Christmas the most - a time of refreshing, a time to slow down and savor Him. I was so worn out after Christmas - we had it on 3 different days at our house - because of everyone's schedule. I learned this year that if Christmas is perfect - I'm missing it. Christ came because we are imperfect. Wishing you blessing, refreshing - and joyful moments in this new year, Sharon! Thank you for sharing your heart!

  16. Yes, yes and yes... too all of it! Once more, you 'nail it', so if I am not expressing well, I just come over here and let you speak for me!! :)

    Happy New Year Sharon... keep 'sharing God'... you are such a blessing to me.

  17. Sharon, I'm stopping by for the first time (I'm pretty sure) via Three Word Wednesday blog hop. You've quite taken me in with your post, with the layers of wisdom therein. This year, I'd watched more than the usual amount of Hallmark Christmas romances prior to the big day. Talk about a build-up and let down. If Christmas isn't a Norman Rockwell painting, it's less like a Hallmark movie. Thanks for reminding me I should have been let down. See you again someday.

  18. I'm counting on prophesy. Don't always understand, but DO always keep my mind headed that direction. All I can count on is the Lord to put it all together. Period. A world, a universe, brought through and forward to and from Him. Bless your thinking, your "hearting".

  19. Expectations are a killer, aren't they? I used to wonder why the Israelites were such whiners in the OT, but now that I am older, I see how easy it is to fall into apathy. Lord, give me eyes to see.

    Thanks for linking up with Thought-Provoking Thursday! :)

  20. What a great comparison, Sharon. We miss and diminish the true Jesus when we wrap Him up in our hopes for Him. Loved the idea of restraining Him when we swaddle Him in our desires and definition of who the King should be.
    Blessings, Janis

  21. Your question, "Does Jesus disappoint?", hit me. I've been asking myself recently, What if? You know...what if something bad happened, would I lose my faith? Would He have disappointed me? So I really needed this encouragement tonight. I don't think I would lose my faith, but it's a reminder to keep seeking to know Him more and more. THANK YOU! Thank you for sharing with Three Word Wednesday!!

  22. Awesome picture of our Lord in Isaiah 11 from the NLT!

    I had the PRE-Christmas blahs this year - almost let it steal my joy!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)