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Hope for All the Post-Christmas Feels
- December 28, 2015
- Ashlee Johnson
The family has gone home, your trash is overflowing with wrapping and ribbons, and all that’s left of the cookies are crumbs. So, how are you doing? Some of us had such a fantastic Christmas full of merriment and joy and warmth and laughter that we are saddened at the thought of the tree coming down and life moving on from the holiday. Others are undone by the brokenness of their families, dealing with the emptiness of disappointment, and ready for a fresh start in the New Year. Or perhaps your experience would best be described as a mixture of these emotions. No matter where you’ve landed emotionally in the wake of Christmas, here’s a little good, gospel truth that will still be true after the kids tire of their new toys and your waistline recovers from the holiday feasting:
- Jesus will reign in 2016. He is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. The holidays tend to bring to light all that’s out of our control, but Isaiah 9:6-7 offers us deep rest in the knowledge that “of the increase of Jesus’ government and of peace there will be no end.”
- Jesus came forth as a root of the stump of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1)—from a family as messed up as any of ours. His lineage includes liars, cheaters, adulterers, fornicators, and misfits. Don’t dismiss too quickly the beauty of God’s redemption in Jesus’ family line. Makes you wonder how God might redeem and restore the pain of our broken family relationships.
- Jesus is near. God has taken on flesh, entered our mess, and humbled himself to carry out his rescue plan (Matthew 1:23, Philippians 2:8-10). It takes one’s breath away to consider that when there was no other way, God’s own arm brought him salvation (Isaiah 59:16). The Scriptures define our “good” as God’s nearness (Psalm 73:28), so we have assurance of a positive outlook after the lights come down and the ornaments are all packed away.
- Best of all, let’s not forget how the Christmas story is dripping with grace at every turn – After 400 years of prophetic silence and approximately 292,000 trips for priests into the Holy Place to offer insence with no word from the Lord, an angel appears to Zechariah while performing his priestly duty to announce that in her old age his wife Elizabeth would bear the forerunner to the Messiah. Gabriel tells Mary that she was chosen to carry the Savior because she has found favor with God and an army of angels announces the coming Messiah to young shepherd boys. Detail upon detail from the way Christ came points us to why he came. Jesus left his rightful throne in the heavenlies that we might cease the insanity of trusting in our own merit, lay down our worn-out striving, and trust in the undeserved gift of God himself.
On this dreary Monday morning after Christmas, I’m thankful that the glory of Christ’s coming won’t get packed away with the décor or silenced like the carols. The story of Christmas is the story of the gospel, which is good news for elated and weary souls alike … all year long.