Summary: Christmas is great, but what do you do after the presents have been opened and the turkey has been eaten. The day after Christmas is a time for pondering, praising and proclaiming.
THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS
Around our house we start putting up decorations more than a month before Christmas. For our kids their focus is usually on Christmas morning. They wake up and open their presents. Then we go to church and come home for a big meal. Then it’s over. At the end of the day, when all the gifts have been opened and there’s nothing under the tree then Christmas is over. For many it is anticlimactic. However, what comes after Christmas is perhaps the most important part about it. I always used to look forward to the after Christmas sales. The day after Christmas was important. It is still important for many reasons.
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 a few hours Christmas will be over. The presents have all been opened and the decorations start getting put away. Let me ask you a simple question, what will you do tomorrow. This passage says that there are 3 ways that we are to respond to Christmas.
1. Pondering – vs. 19
After Christmas is good time to reflect on what you have just seen and heard. How many times have you heard the Christmas story? I’m sure most of you could come up here today, and tell the story. You heard enough sermons, prayed enough prayers and have rubbed up against the truth long enough to get a callous on your heart so the real truth cannot penetrate deep into your daily life. Familiarity breeds contempt. The first way to respond to the Christmas message is to make it fresh in your heart by pondering it in a new way.
A chauffeur had driven the chemistry professor to dozens of speaking engagements. He’d heard the same canned speech scores of times. He said on the way to another engagement, "Professor, I believe I could give your speech myself; I’ve heard it so often." The professor said, "I’ll bet you $50 you can’t." "You’re on," said the chauffeur. He stopped the car and the two exchanged attire. They came to the banquet and the chauffeur dressed in a tuxedo, sat at the head of the table and was introduced. He stood up and gave the speech exactly as he had heard it so many times before. There was a standing ovation when he was finished. The emcee got up and said, "You know, we are so fortunate to have such a fine resource with us tonight, and since we have a little extra time, let’s have some questions and answers." The first question was asked and the chauffeur stood there dumbfounded, clearing his throat in nervousness. Finally with a flash of insight he said, "You know, that’s just about the dumbest question I have ever heard. In fact it is so dumb I bet even my chauffeur could answer that question."
If you think about it some Christmas traditions are very strange. The greeting on one certain Christmas card goes like this: “Christmas is just plain weird. What other time of year do you sit around staring at a dead tree in your living room and eat candy out of your socks.” There are some things about the whole Christmas story that are also pretty weird. A virgin teenager gets pregnant. Visits by angels. Caesar’s tax. The trip to Bethlehem but no room in the Inn. God born in a stable. It is all too incredible to believe. You have heard this story so many times but have you ever stopped to really think about it?
C.S. Lewis said, “we don’t need to be told new ideas so much as we need to be reminded of old truths”
This Christmas we remember again the true meaning of Christmas. God gave himself for us. He was born as one of us so that each of us might be born again into the family of God. That baby born in Bethlehem almost 2000 years ago is the savior of all of us. Lets not forget the real reason for Christmas this year.
There was a wealthy European family that decided to have their newborn baby dedicated in their enormous mansion. Dozens of guests were invited to the elaborate affair, and they all arrived dressed elegantly. After depositing their wraps on a bed in an upstairs room, the guests were entertained royally. Soon the time came for the main purpose of their gathering: the infant’s ceremony. But where was the baby? No one seemed to know. The child’s governess ran upstairs and returned with a desperate look on her face. Everyone searched frantically for the baby. Then someone recalled having seen him asleep on one of the beds. The baby was on a bed all right—buried beneath a pile of coats, jackets, and furs. The object of that day’s celebration had been forgotten, neglected, and nearly smothered. The baby whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas is easily hidden beneath the piles of traditions and cultural observances of the season. We need to enter every Advent season asking, "Where’s the baby?"