Summary: A sermon for the week after Christmas; dealing with post-holiday let down

Nobody Ever Volunteers To Take Down The Christmas Tree

Luke 1: 68-79 - Dec. 29/30, 2001


So the presents are all unwrapped, some even returned and exchanged already. The leftover turkey is starting to turn a funny color and let off an unpleasant odor, and since nobody has eaten any in the last couple of days anyway, it is quickly headed for the garbage. The toys have long since been torn from the boxes and had their initial use, and some already seem to have outlived the child’s interest in them, and so they’ll go into a box labeled “toys-we-seldom-play-with”. The needles from the Christmas tree are falling freely now, making a big mess all over the floor, and no matter what we try, un-decorating the tree is never going to be anything other than a chore that nobody really wants to do. Nothing to look forward to now except the credit card bills…

The Month After Christmas

Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house

Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.

The cookies I’d nibbled, the eggnog I’d tasted

At the holiday parties had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales there arose such a number!

When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).

I’d remember the marvelous meals I’d prepared;

The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rare,

The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese

And the way I’d never said, "No thank you, please."

As I dressed myself in my husband’s old shirt

And prepared once again to do battle with dirt---

I said to myself, as I only can "You can’t spend a winter disguised as a man!"

So--away with the last of the sour cream dip,

Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip

Every last bit of food that I like must be banished

’Til all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won’t have a cookie--not even a lick.

I’ll want only to chew on a long celery stick.

I won’t have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie,

I’ll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.

I’m hungry, I’m lonesome, and life is a bore---

But isn’t that what January is for?

Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.

Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

But good news: only 361/360 days until we can do it all over again…

Do you get depressed this time of year? The after-holiday let down? It is a normal feeling, that many of us get. I’ve felt it a bit this week – tough to get motivated to get back to work, wanting to stay in bed longer, just feeling a bit down. It is hard when a big event, which we have looked forward to and planned for and prepared for and anticipated, is over. (joanne degree story?). There is a “let down” feeling, for some of us it is relatively minor and we get on with life quickly, for others it easily leads to deeper depression.

I sometimes wonder if Mary and Joseph didn’t experience that same feeling. What do you think it was like for Mary and Joseph most of the time? I mean, after the shepherds left, the visits from the angel stopped, the Magi had long gone. They likely stayed in Bethlehem for the first year and a half or two, and then we know they took off in the middle of the night for Egypt. But what was it like the rest of the time – day in, day out: raising a child, earning a living, keeping a home (with all that entailed two thousand years ago), spending time with friends, going to worship. I wonder how Mary and Joseph coped in the day to day routine, knowing their son was unique, yet still in all appearances just like every other child around them. Still having to change a diaper, mush up food, teach him to walk and talk and how to act.

Even for Mary and Joseph, life would have gotten back to normal. Joseph would have found work to bring in some money to live on, Mary would have tended the house and cooked the meals and cared for the children. I’m sure there were moments of frustration, confusion, and uncertainty. Just like there is for all of us.

I see in Mary one of the keys to coping with the let down: she “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19). I don’t believe that she marginalized or downplayed or discounted any of the things she experienced through the “high” time, she carried them with her through the normal time, through the routine. She held the memories close, pulled them out from time to time and thought through them again, claimed again the promises and thus found the resources to get through another day.

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