Scott Jones – Gilbert Campus Pastor
“Knock, knock.” It was our neighbor asking to borrow some carpet cleaner. Turns out they found a stray cat in their driveway and decided to bring it in for the night because it was getting cold. It was a noble thing.
They put the cat in the den so it could get warm and rest. An hour later, when they looked in there was a “mess” all over the carpet. At first, they thought it was the obvious. But upon closer inspection they discovered the cat had given birth to a litter of kittens. Merry Christmas!
I laughed because they put a piece of paper on the STOP sign pole that read:
“Found: Siamese Cat. Looks like she might be pregnant.” The last time I checked, once kittens come out on the floor, the “might” is over. Now they’re stuck because you can put an adult cat back out on the street but not an entire family.
Sometimes things do not turn out the way you expected.
This is kind of what some of us experience post-Christmas. What you thought was going to happen didn’t happen. Maybe you didn’t get that gift you were hoping for. You’ve been watching that Lexus commercial and you thought there might be a brand-new LS with a red ribbon in your driveway. But no such luck!
Post-Christmas can be quite a let down. There’s so much anticipation, so much build up, that when it’s over, it’s easy to get the “post-Christmas blues.” We’ve spent the entire month focusing on the birth of Jesus and now it’s back to reality. We’re not the only ones.
Think about Joseph and Mary. What do you think they dealt with after the birth of Jesus? Their anticipation lasted nine months and then “Bam!” It was over, right? No. We have a tendency to think that it was over once Jesus was born. But really it was just beginning. Now they had the rest of their lives to see God’s promise unfold. What can we learn from Mary and Joseph in handling post-Christmas blues?
- Keep moving forward as you wait for God’s promise to unfold.
There was a lot living to do between the manger and the cross. And Joseph and Mary were faithful to move forward in following God’s leading. The manger was a temporary solution. I’m struck by the normal way in which they went about life. The gospel writer Luke records it:
When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Luke 2:22-24
They did what was required of all Jewish parents. Sure, they knew their son was the Messiah. And I’m sure if we were the parents we would call for exceptions to the rule. But Joseph and Mary humbly obeyed what God had already written down.
That’s not always we what want. We often want the miraculous leading from God, when what he first wants from us is to follow what is right there in front of us in black and white.
Are you waiting for God to do something miraculous for you? Don’t stop living. Don’t put your life and relationship with God on hold. It may be the very thing that leads you to see things more clearly.
- Stay faithful in the little things.
No sooner had the Magi visited Joseph and Mary that they became fugitives because Herod wanted to kill Jesus. Matthew adds to the story.
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “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.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. Matthew 2:13-14
Joseph still had to be a father, provider, husband, protector. We don’t know a lot about Joseph but every time God told him to do something, he did it. Mary had to raise a baby on the run. They were sitting on this incredible promise from God about Jesus with very little understanding of what to do next. Think about Gabriel’s announcement, Zechariah’s song, the Shepherd’s visit, the Magi. All this miraculous activity. But after that, nothing. Mary knows her son is the Messiah but here he is teething, crying, hungry, dirty. Don’t you think she wondered, at least once?
- “Can you change your own diaper?”
- “Can you make the broom, you know, clean by itself?”
- ”Can you make the bread always stay a full loaf?”
But you don’t have any sense of this. What we do see is continued faithfulness in the waiting.
Do you find yourself wanting to see the fruit of your labor?
- Maybe like Mary, you’re surrounded by toddlers (she probably had a few other kids right after Jesus). And you wonder if this is all there is.
- You’re in a dead-end job and you’re thinking, “Just blow it off!”
- You’re in a marriage that’s sucking the life out of you.
And you’re crying out, “When is something going to change?” God says, “Be patient. Remain faithful. There is purpose in this season. I am with you.”
If you think about it, post-Christmas blues lasted over 30 years for Joseph and Mary. But they kept living as the fruit of the promised unfolded. And that’s the invitation for you and me. We can’t always have Christmas Day. But it’s what it stands for, that reminds us what we live for the other 364 days of the year.
Happy New Year!Click here for the photo credit on this post