How to Avoid Post-Christmas Letdown
It's very easy, and common, to bask in the glory of Christmas and then have a major letdown at New Year's or even the day after. In some ways it could be like the day after visiting an amusement park. Every day can't be a party. And while I would be one that tells you that you should think of Christmas, the birth of Jesus, God incarnate, every day; every day can't be Christmas. Not as we know and celebrate it with all its trappings and deceptive influences. At some point you need to get back to real life. Real life revolving around the Lord Jesus Christ and his birth, death, resurrection. and promised return. But nonetheless, real life, here on earth as long as God has us here.
Why do we experience the letdown? How can we keep from experiencing the letdown? What does God want us to know that were missing? That is what we need to think about today.
I think we often experience the letdown because it's only natural that when we focus on one aspect instead of the big picture we get shortsighted and don't take into account the reality of how things really are.
It's like when you crop a photo or edit a photo and zero in on one aspect; maybe someone smiling a big smile. That is all good and well but what if everyone else in the picture is crying? But you don't see that. You missed the bigger picture. You missed the true reality.
What if a person only came to church on Christmas and Easter? And what would they know of the Christian life? What would they know of Jesus? If all they ever heard was of the birth and the resurrection. Not bad things to hear if you're only going to have two servings per year. Hopefully that would focus them on the gospel truth of Jesus Christ and him born, crucified, risen, and coming again.
But what about an accurate picture of what it means to be a follower of Christ? The pain, the agony, the disappointments. Jesus never promised us a bed of roses.
So today, amidst a celebration of Christ's birth, I also want to give you the gory details. Actually just a realistic picture of what it's really like to follow the one who was born in a manger. The one who created time and space, the one who put the stars in place, the one who lived and breathed and walked and talked on earth. And then died a bloody death for us and for our sins and for our salvation and for God's ultimate glory. Jesus: God for us.
Jesus has done everything for us. Romans 8:31 says "if God is for us who can be against us?" Paul has just finished recounting the glorious gospel truths of predestination, justification, sanctification, and glorification. God has done it. He has done everything for our eternal salvation in Christ, the babe born in a manger that we celebrate.
First, let us focus on the Glory
The glory of God seen in Luke 2:8-20
What do we mean by the glory of God? We mean everything about who he is in all his magnificence.
The first significant thing we see in this account is that God glorified himself. Next we see that the Angels glorified God. After that we see the people glorify God.
So where are the gory details? Again if you crop the picture and only look at this you would only see glory. But lurking in the shadows was Herod ready to kill and steal and destroy as his father the devil wanted him to. And we noticed that the people's response to the shepherd's report was this: Some wondered, Mary treasured and pondered. The wondering wasn't excitement but rejection. The treasuring and pondering was acceptance and reflection on glorious truth.
And what are the gory details for us? Can't we just simply enjoy this day? Absolutely. And as we enjoy this day let us have a realistic view, an accurate view, a biblically accurate view of life in Christ.
If you are a follower of Christ…Announcement: Jesus has done everything for us! Glory to God. Gospel of great joy for all. Peace to believers. Glory – joy – peace. Wow. But also...
1. You follow an unpopular Savior.
2. You believe a rejected message.
3. You live a despise life.
I realize these are not politically correct things to say about following Christ, but they are biblically accurate things to say. They're not the whole story, but they are the part of the story that is often left out, and they are the part of the story that is most often left out at Christmas time. Let us be realistic and let that realisticness lead us not to a morose, defeatist, negative view of life, but let it lead us to where God wants us to be…to greater faith in the Sovereign Savior who alone holds all things together by the word of his power.