Today is Thursday, December 27, 2012---do you know where your Christmas spirit is?
This is a silly question to ask, but by now, some of you are experiencing those anti-climactic-after-Christmas-blues. All of the tinsel, all of the hot apple cider, and all of the cheer that marks the season couldn’t protect you from this phenomenon that you knew would come.
Even your shiniest Christmas gift may have already lost just a smidgen of its luster---unless, of course, that gift happens to be an Apple iPad Mini, or a rather large stack of Bible commentaries. In either of these cases, you’re free to bask in the glow of sheer awesomeness for at least a few more weeks.
What do you do otherwise?
How do you live life after Christmas?
Once again, Christmas has courted you, wooed you, and wrapped you up in its brilliance, only to leave you behind, with nothing to do but pack up the decorations and stow them in your attic for yet another long, hot summer.
What if the question was framed out just a little differently?
How do you live life after Christ?
I think that question fits the occasion of Christmas perfectly. After all, isn’t it the birth of Jesus that we celebrate every December 25? If we really believe that He is the “reason for the season,” then how are we to live now that’s He’s come?
I’ve had the pleasure of reading Dr. Al Mohler’s latest book, “The Conviction to Lead.” In it, Dr. Mohler addresses the issue of worldview---that near subconscious approach we take to all of life.
While the book and the quote that follows don’t directly speak to issues surrounding Christmas, I think the matter of worldview is always relevant, and so we have something to learn from Dr. Mohler, who writes:
Christianity is a comprehensive worldview and way of life that grows out of Christian reflection on the Bible and the unfolding plan of God revealed in the unity of the Scriptures (Kindle location 560).
For the purpose of this post, let me just say that how we answer our question about life after Christ (or Christmas, if you will) is owing very much to our worldview, and how we see the interconnectedness of the great doctrines of our faith, like the incarnation of Christ and the purpose of the advent.
If we truly believe that God has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ, then that must, of necessity, change the way we live. And, that change must, of equal necessity, evidence itself not only in how we live, but why we live each and every day of the year that follows.
Too often in culture, Christmas is identified as the celebration of Christ’s birth, but rarely do we find it connected to the rebellion of man against a holy God. Even more rare, is that connection that links the birth of Christ with the crucifixion of Christ as the ultimate sacrifice for sin.
This linkage, it seems, doesn’t make for very comfortable Hallmark Christmas Cards.
As Dr. Mohler pointed out, though, our faith is one of interconnected doctrines that cannot be compartmentalized in any final sense. When we strip the crucifixion from the incarnation, we end up with nothing more than a humanistic festival that cannot offer any sense of lasting joy, hope, peace, or purpose.
Thankfully, the true gifts of Christmas, which are Immanuel, his Gospel, and the mission he called us to, endure throughout the year. In them, we find definitive, joy-inducing answers to our question---how are we to live after Christmas?
Questions for reflection:
1. Do you struggle with after-Christmas-blues?
2. How does the redemptive mission of God in Christmas, and your calling to participate with Him in the proclamation of the Gospel, encourage you to carry the spirit of Christmas forward into the new year?