The Day After Christmas

On Sunday, December 29th, Gene Wingert[1] wove The Day After Christmas throughout the morning worship service at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (referred to as EBIC in the PDF). The meditation was so stirring that I asked for a copy to share with you (click here for a PDF). How apt to post on Epiphany, The Day of Three Kings, and in anticipation of sharing gifts in ministry with InterVarsity staff at our triennial staff conference (January 7 – 11, St. Louis).

As a teaser, below is the first part. May you likewise find this meditation a blessing as you re-engage the complexities of campus life, telling everyone what you have seen and heard as God has spoken to you (and the people of God) through His word, and as you treasured these things in your heart, thoughtfully reflecting on their meaning. May we — everywhere we go and in all that we do — give praise and glory to God for all that we have seen and heard. AND may we continue to do such throughout 2014. To God be the glory!

The Day After Christmas

‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even the mouse
The stockings were empty, the Christmas tree bare
For jolly St. Nicolas had already been there.
The family was bushed and thoroughly beat
Collapsed from exhaustion and too much to eat
The dishes were stacked in a heap in the sink
for attempting to do them was just too much to think
Rolaids were handy for pains most distressing
from belly’s stuffed full of roast turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce, pickles, nuts, candy and pie – to mention just a few
The relief that was marked on two or three faces
Was sign that the relatives had returned to their places
And as they dozed off one was heard to exclaim
“Boy and I glad that’s done for another whole year.”

That indeed may reflect our feelings on the day after Christmas. As we wrap up the Christmas season there is a certain sense of relief after all of the intensity, the extra work, the many things to do, that seem to come with this time of year.

But there also comes an inevitable let-down and sense of loss, even depression and disillusionment.

We journey towards Christmas with anticipation and excitement – even as the Shepherds went to Bethlehem – with haste.

And the celebration itself — the special services, the music, the lights, the gathering of family, the gifts and the feasting — all lift our spirits,

And In the midst of all this warmth and glow we are at times inclined to feel as if the world has changed, that peace, goodwill, joy and charity have indeed found their place in the heart of humanity.

He, Qi. Dream of the Magi, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=46121 [retrieved January 5, 2014]. Original source: heqigallery.com.

But then the celebrations end, the tree comes down and we find ourselves back in the ordinary world where no angels sing

 

where there is little glory to God
certainly no peace on earth
and good will is a scarce commodity.

 

  • The children still bug us about the same things,
  • the neighbors take down their tree and up goes the same wall of cold isolation,
  • the carolers go home and no one calls again for another year,
  • the problems at work are still the same,
  • parents still don’t understand,
  • and teachers haven’t learned anything about compassion over the Christmas break.
  • We are burdened with the same aches and pains of body and soul.

So it becomes necessary on The Day after Christmas to leave the festival and begin the road back to the places where we live out our daily lives

And that is the question and focus of our time together this morning: How do we journey after Christmas — in the routines of home, work school, in the places where our bodies do not always work, where relationships are fraught with danger, where there is no star in the sky, no angel choirs, where wise men are in short supply and Herod is still very much on the throne?

At the conclusion of the Christmas story in Luke’s gospel, we read how the shepherds and Mary responded after the momentous event of the birth of Christ and these verses give us some clues as to how take up the Journey on the Day after Christmas:

He, Qi. Nativity, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=46095 [retrieved January 5, 2014]. Original source: heqigallery.com.


We read in Luke 2:

17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

In these brief verses we can see

  • A Journey Outward to the world that God loves and for which Christ came and died
  • A Journey Inward – Mary pondering these things in her heart
  • A Journey Upward – glorifying and praising God in a life lived of the Father’s love begotten, by the Spirit, for the Glory of the Lord.

Click here to pick-up with Evangelizing: Everywhere All the Time. A Journey Outward to the world that God loves and for which Christ came and died . . .


Notes

  1. A graduate of Messiah College and Ashland Theological Seminary, Eugene has served 20 years in pastoral roles at Hillman, Michigan, Nappanee, Indiana and Elizabethtown, PA Brethren in Christ churches. For 22 years he was the Executive Director of Kenbrook Bible Camp, Lebanon, PA and directed its paddlesport and outdoor wilderness programs during that time. He is now retired but continues to find ways to draw people of all ages into growing experiences in the beauty of God’s creation. Most recently he and his wife Darlene served for two years as hosts for the Nahumba Guest House in Zambia and as Financial Secretary for Brethren in Christ World Missions in Zambia. They have two children, Sara Wingert and Tim Wingert and one grandson, Kyden. They currently reside in Elizabebethtown, PA. ↩
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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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