Christmas Is Over, But Its Real Joy Lasts Forever

Christmas dec 001

Ah, ’tis a dangerous time for me, a little section of the year I always dread, and this year, more than usual. You see, Christmas is over, no matter how you reckon it.

Christmas, the shopping season, is done. Madison Avenue launches Santa’s sleigh the day after Halloween, largely ignores Thanksgiving, and then shoves the whole thing back into the box and up into the attic on December 26.

And even for those committed to observing the time-honored “holy days” of Christmas, the season that begins on Christmas Day and lasts for twelve, well, the twelve are done. (Which reminds me: I need to go unplug and un-hang the shepherds on the front of our house.)

So here we are. Christmas is over. The decorations, and a whole lot of beauty and color, in our homes and churches are all coming down again as we head into a time, I’m tempted to say, easily relegated to bureaucrats and bean-counters and the IRS, and where we are tempted to focus on “battery-powered” human “resolutions” rather than God-powered, “the Word became flesh” salvation.

That God’s joy is never far away at any time of year is, as I count it, an article of faith. That I have to work a little harder myself to experience it during these early days of the year is a weakness in me, I’m sure. But it is, by now, predictable. And this year, oh, I saw it coming like a Mack truck!

To have a Christmas album ready in September, I began singing Christmas music last February (we recorded “Let It Snow” in July!), and my oft-repeated prayer has been that God’s joy shine through every note. During the season, I was singing those songs, and a sled-full of other Yuletide carols and tunes, more than ever. I love to sing for any reason at any season, but the Christmas songs are my favorite. To have a chance to help brighten the season for others and help us all plug more into God’s joy is a genuine blessing I hope to have many times again—and then, in some way, forever!

But, alas, the season has done what seasons are supposed to do: it has come, and it has gone. This one just happens to be my favorite. And I find myself considering the wisdom an 88-year-old snow-haired friend and church member shared years ago as we sat by his fire. He said, “Curtis, at my age, it seems like Christmas comes about every other week.” Did he also say that each one seems to last about ten minutes? Ah, well.

My wife says I’m a January Grinch. As usual, she’s probably right. But I hope it’s more accurate to say that I’m a January Scrooge.

I’ve long thought that the most dangerous time for the new Ebenezer Scrooge lay in January, following the Christmas of his reclamation. Dickens puts our minds at ease by giving us a glimpse into Ebenezer’s future. The old boy held on to his new-found joy. It was the real thing, and he never lost it.

May the same be said of us all, and the January Scrooge under my hat, during this and all times of the year.

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Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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