May 152007

This article is shared by Kristine K. Lowder

I have a confession. I’m an “after-Christmas” aficionada. I love to save on “after-Christmas” sales. I love to “stock up for next year” at half-price and exchange unwanted gifts for refunds. I like clearing up and cleaning out and the sparkling expanse of a brand new, clean-as-a-whistle calendar. Neck-deep in my merry-aftering mirth, however, I’ve noticed something about this time of year. Maybe you have, too:

Torn wrapping paper has been bagged and discarded. Tree tinsel feeds the vacuum. Leftover turkey or ham has reappeared in an endless array of sandwiches, casseroles and soups. Life’s strains and pains have returned. Within a nano-second of December 26 the season’s luminescent kindness seems to sour to selfishness, generosity purchased on plastic comes due with interest. We pack away the decorations, turn off the Christmas lights, recycle the tree and return to the hustle and bustle and humdrum of every day life for another eleven months.

Or do we?

Why not linger a while and savor the season of Emmanuel, God with us? For a few shining hours during the “God with us” season, His reflection is everywhere:

— In the beaming grin of an overseas orphan who’s opened a Christmas gift from a total stranger
— In the single mom who sacrifices a million dollars disguised as her last few coins into a Salvation Army kettle
— In the housewife who bakes extra goodies for an elderly, lonely neighbor—and takes time to sit down and share
— In the reddened eyes and tired hands of a smiling Dad who’s finished assembling a bicycle just as Christmas Day dawns
— In the majestic choruses of Handel and the simple refrains of no-crib-for-a-bed
— In the youngster who gives up his own Christmas booty so an unnamed overseas orphan can sprout a smile

You see Mom, I’m not convinced that just because we’re up to our eyeballs in “after-Christmas” memories, we must relegate the Why of Christ’s coming to the dust bunnies. That’s why I like to linger. To slow down and re-read Christmas cards skimmed at warp speed in December. To write thank yous that are meaningful rather than rote. To sing a few more carols and light more candles. To relish and reflect. While I’m at it, Mom, can I ask you some “after-Christmas” questions?

Can you give glory to the newborn King in March or October? How ‘bout hollering Born is the King of Is-ra-el during a summer heat wave? What about remembering that the Lord is come when a friend loses a loved one, a child needs a hug, or your husband needs encouragement and support? Can you come and adore Him by mending misunderstandings or fixing fractured friendships? Can you let heaven and nature sing beyond December and ring throughout your sparkling new calendar?

Mom, will you ponder with me that if “God with us” can shine so well during the rush-and-crush of December, how much brighter would His reflection be if we sought and obeyed Him every day?

Kristine K. Lowder

 Posted by at 12:30

  One Response to “The After-Christmas God”

  1. In the Waldorf School movement, festivals are enthusiastically celebrated. In the USA they are becoming less practiced in the face of antagonism from media-influenced anti-spiritual parents, but the traditions are strong, fun, and rich with songs, plays, crafts, stories, nature activ- ities,foods and decorations; and for the grown-ups a commprehensive spiritual background to what is happening in the cosmos at that time of year which is being portrayed and celebrated through all the activity. As an example, below is a flyer sent home to me when my son was in Kindergarten. It contains some further thoughts about carrying the Christmas mood beyond Dec. 25th, particularly for the children:

    Dear Red Rose Kindergarten Parents,

    Enclosed you will find a set of twelve colored beeswax candles made for you by your child. Many times, people have expressed to us a feeling of “let down” after Advent and Christmas. It is our hope to answer this feeling by offering you an idea of what might happen in your home during the twelve evenings following Christmas, leading up to Epiphany – Three Kings’ Day – on January 6th.

    On December 25th you could light the candle for January, sing a carol and then look back to the past January and any events you may recall that happened.
    For example, did Grandparents visit, or aunts, uncles, … a new pet came? Were there any deaths or births, or birthdays of people important to you? What was your family doing? Then look forward … any plans, resolutions, any hopes for the new year? You might sing another carol, then say a little verse for January as you put the candle out. And so on, for each month. If you can keep some of each candle unused, you might be able to light the entire ring on the 6th of January.

    The candles can be arranged according to this color order : Magenta for January
    Bright Red for February, Pink for March, Coral for April, Orange for May, Golden Yellow for June, Yellow for July, Green for August, Light Blue for September,
    Deep Blue for October, Deep Purple for November, Wine Purple for December.

    Gloria in excelsis Deo, pax hominibus bonae voluntatis !
    Glory in the heights of God, peace to men of good will !

    Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all you parents of such good will !
    from the Red Rose Kindergarten teachers