On the tides of Christmas and holding on to joy.
Christmastide is upon us!
By now the immediate flurry of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is behind us. Presents opened, stockings torn into, candles lit and the choir songs have been sung. There is a tide that begins to start pulling us back out into the swirl of the world. Yet Christmastide stands as an affront to that notion.
While the world may view Christmas Day as the finish line, those who celebrate all of Christmastide see it as a starting line. I love this dichotomy. Rather than saying, “we made it,” we can say, “He has come.” And just like any arrival, we celebrate UPON the arrival and in the days that follow.
How we respond to the arrival of Jesus says a lot about what we believe about him. Christmastide allows us twelve days to dwell in delight and celebration that is rooted in the joy we claim to possess.
Last week I was meeting with a marketing team for an upcoming conference and when they asked me what audience members could expect from my teaching my response was, “very few specific examples.” I can assure you this is not the response they were anticipating. But the reality is I am very intentional about NOT offering checklists or three point plans. It is far too easy to make spiritual things impersonal action items or even worse, have them become ways to replicate what works for another person with little consideration for your own actual life.
But, I do know that when a concept is new it can be helpful to see what it might look like lived out in a real household, family or self. That being said, I am sharing some ways we “keep Christmas with us.”
Most of all, if you feel a letdown in these days after Christmas perhaps it is because your celebration has been a bit misplaced. It is not too late to decide to let it linger and delight in the truth of God With us.
We try to have something exciting to look forward to every day until Epiphany. To help give perspective we are pretty simple bunch so sometimes this looks like Hot Cocoa break mid-day. Anything can be a celebration.
We turn on outdoor lights pretty late in December for exactly this reason. We keep them going until Epiphany. By Jan 3rd it becomes very apparent that we are doing something different than the world around us. We keep all decorations up and delight in every bit of it. I love this quote from Andy Rooney, “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly." This week we hold our presents under the tree. We rifle through the piles of books as they knock into tree ornaments, we brush the needles off the box of legos.
Christmas cookies are still being baked, delicious food is still being had. As I write this we still have several sweets that we are eagerly looking forward to making and delighting in this week. We have wassail on the last day of Christmas. We have king’s cake on Epiphany. We feast and feast and feast!
There are lots of invitations offered up this week to gather in joy. I meet up with friends I don’t get to see very often, we have dinners with those we love. We host at home, but also it is often as simple as hosting a meetup at the coffee shop.
See, nothing revolutionary here. The biggest difference is in your self. There is no rush to be done. How can you frame these next few days? How can you settle in and rejoice the coming of the King rather than collapse in a heap? For those of us who took it slow in Advent we are prepped for celebration. This is the beauty of the pace of Advent.
Don’t let the tide of the world around you draw you away from the joy of celebrating these days. It is time to rejoice. May we do so with full hearts and with abandon.
The Table with Jessica Herberger is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. Lots of good things coming in the New Year!
This is a quote from a family favorite, “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.” It is available on prime video-in our house we watch it every single christmas eve.