The house sits still, quiet and empty. The majestic tree still stands guard over the house but, like a duck without her chicks, it seems to be less cheery, less purposeful. The fire dims in it’s cavern and a drowsy warmth slows the pace throughout our home. This new atmosphere contrasts greatly with the one that has been dwelled in for the past days and even weeks. The toys and clothes that had been scouted out and meticulously wrapped lie strewn in various rooms, their elegant wrappings crumpled into a bag. This afternoon’s long-awaited delicacies will become tomorrow’s microwave lunch. Parties long anticipated are now photos on Facebook and end-of-the-year assignments are tucked away in a drawer.
The anticipation that comes with the season is rapidly dissipating into apathy. I can feel the miraculous hope dwindling with it, slipping through our hands and swirling out of sight like water down a drain. Comments made imply the slight pang of disappointment that the long awaited festivities have come and gone. Of course we know that “Jesus is the reason for the season”. But why does it seem as though the pinnacle of the festivities lay at the moment the gifts were unveiled or when the family gathered around the table for the feast? Why am I left with this feeling that Christmas was an event that happened and left us all wanting, swept over by it’s wake?
I attended a midnight mass with my grandfather on Christmas Eve. It was laced with festively garbed families waltzing through their yearly traditions, traditions that I realized I had a lot to learn about. I think there’s so much value in cherishing our roots, just like there is beauty in the anticipating hope of Christmas morning. But, I’ve been thinking, and I’ve concluded that the best part of what we celebrate goes beyond the celebration, beyond the traditions.
Instead of realizing that we have the power to move forward from Christmas, celebrating the life of Christ, we stop and we dwell on the day, on the moment, failing to realize that the joy comes in the life that springs forth from the seed. It’s not a moment or a day that we celebrate, there’s an eternity that comes after it. Jesus didn’t promise us the “Miracle of Christmas” but the Miracle of Life! On Christmas we celebrate His birthday, not His funeral; a beginning not a conclusion.
So let us set our gaze not on a tradition or an event, but on the eternal Man who we celebrate. Let us draw closer to intimacy with Him, allowing Him to wake us each morning with the tingling excitement and anticipation that we are awakened with each year on December 25th. Let us allow the fragrance of His presence and the light of His love to cheer our post-Christmas moods.