Summary: After the crescendo of Christmas, some of us are back to our complicated and chaotic lives. Message looks at three post-Christmas scenes and then three lessons to help us beat the blahs.

Dealing with the Post-Christmas Blahs

Matthew 2:13-23

Rev. Brian Bill


Dave Veerman has written a poem called, “Many Happy Returns.” See if it resonates with you:

‘Twas the day after Christmas

And all through the room

Strewn wrappings were crying

For use of a broom

The children were scattered

The friends’ gifts exploring

Since now most of theirs

Were broken or boring.

All tummies were stuffed

From the fabulous feast;

Leftovers would serve

For one month at least.

And mama and papa

Were countryside ranging,

Those unwanted gifts

Returned or exchanging.

Yes Christmas is past

With its bustle and noise

Sales and carols

Santas and toys.

Decorations are packed

The Yule tree’s discarded

The holiday’s over

Just as we got started.

Are you experiencing a bit of a post-Christmas crash? When I was up in the suburbs the day after Christmas I heard a customer make this comment to a cashier at a gas station in a growling voice: “I am SO GLAD that Christmas is over! How was your Christmas?”

In a bizarre story, Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem following the Christmas celebrations. Priests were actually seen swinging brooms and throwing stones at each other! Seven people were injured in this 15-minute unholy melee on the site where many believe Jesus was born. Christmas can lead to conflict and chaos.

Did you hear about the six family members who were murdered on Christmas Eve in Seattle? Apparently this atrocious act was committed by another family member. Things often go crazy at Christmas time.

Now that Christmas has crescendoed, some of us are back to our complicated and chaotic lives. Others of us have moved from “ho, ho, ho” to humdrum. Has your “fa-la-la-la-la” turned to blah-blah-blah?

We don’t spend much time on this but I think Joseph and Mary had a letdown as well. They were joyfully greeted by the shepherds and then some time later a bunch of wise guys from out east came and worshipped the Christ child, bringing expensive gifts with them but then things head south, literally. While Luke’s account has no songs of sadness, Matthew’s narrative is drenched in tears and fears, pain and problems, blood and lament. The picture is not pretty and is usually kept off the cover of our Christmas cards and out of our Christmas carols.

I’d like us to focus on three post-Christmas scenes from Matthew 2:13-23 that don’t normally get much attention. Let’s first familiarize ourselves with what happened and then see if there are some lessons we can find that will help us beat the blahs.

Scene Summary

1. Escape to Egypt (13-15). After the wise men head back home, an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph while he’s dreaming and says, “Get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” Even in this account we see how Joseph is not the “real father” of Jesus. Do you see it? The angel says, “Take the child and his mother…” He doesn’t say, “Take your son” but instead, “take the child.” Note also that “the child” is listed before “his mother,” which shows us who is most important. In verses 14-15 we read: “So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’”

Every year we read of people who steal figurines from nativity sets. The Daily Leader ran a story on Christmas Eve out of Florida with the headline “GPS Jesus.” Because the baby Jesus statue had been stolen even after having bolted down, they decided to equip the new one with a GPS system. Dina Cellini, who oversees the display, made these comments: “I don’t anticipate this will ever happen again, but we may need to rely on technology to save our savior.” I don’t think Jesus needs the help of technology but as we look at our passage today we will see that He did need to be saved from Herod’s anger. I don’t have access to a GPS but this map shows their probable route [show map].

If you know your Old Testament, you’ll recognize the significance of Egypt. On the one hand it represents bondage and worldliness. On the other, it signifies safety and security. Joseph’s namesake had a tough time there before God blessed him and Jacob, his forefather, made a very similar journey in Genesis 46:3-4: “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.”

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