The Day After Christmas

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14 ESV).

The day after Christmas is usually one of the most difficult days for people to face. Family have come and gone, the excitement of new things has turned to the task of exchange and refitting. We find ourselves back in an old familiar routine that is at best unsatisfactory. Perhaps it is that we spend a month or longer, decorating and cooking, buying and gifting, baking, listening to music and snuggling in front of the fire and movies, and then, in one 24-hour period, it’s over. For some there is another day off that allows some transition back to the “real world.” And, while this is a luxury for some and not all, there are several ways that anyone can stretch the season of Christmas. The following may be helpful to you as you face the “undecorating” and a return to the regular.

  • First, let me suggest that you find a time for rest. Even if you are back at work, take some time at lunch or break and let your mind linger over the time of inactivity. Take the day slowly and don’t say yes to anything that isn’t urgent. Take the time to recharge yourself and be present with those you love most.
  • Second, use some of the time you have to reflect. This is the time of year to look back over all the blessings that have come your way. Good news from the doctor, promotions at work, milestones for the kids, travels and adventures, personal growth, the list could be a mile long. Start collecting those blessings, either on paper or in your head, and watch as your cup overflows. 
  • Third, find a place and purpose in rejoicing. Remember why you’ve just spent a month preparing. Yes, the holidays are fun, but Jesus is the reason for the season. Read the story with fresh eyes. Ponder how Joseph must have felt; consider what happened next for him and Mary. Immerse yourself in the idea that Christmas changed everything—not just for a day, or a season, but forever.
  • Fourth, prepare yourself for the New Year. After you’ve spent time reflecting on the months that just passed, what does your mind land on? Is there a word that resonates in your heart? Develop a sense of perseverance to continue.

More than anything, forget what has gone before and move to what is ahead. After all, the assurance of eternal life is ours in Christ. That is the “prize of the upward call of God in Christ.”