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 marketing 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 everyone get along and have a good time? Did everyone get enough to eat? Did everybody like the presents I gave? 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, and when the Lakers lost…
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. And I was grateful to be able to share the day with my boys and "The Hub."
But, after the day is done, I am wistful and a bit sad. It's ALL. OVER. AND. DONE.
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 Jews 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.
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 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.
How do you handle the aftermath of Christmas Day? Are you letting yourself be disappointed with Jesus?
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"