It’s that in between zone- no man’s land sandwiched (with turkey & ham left-overs) between Christmas & New Year. The old year hasn’t quite finished- the new year hasn’t yet begun. It feels like an extended weekend if you are off work- & a little disgruntling & disjointed if you are not!
Already, the arbitrary date in December on which we celebrate the most amazing birthday of all seems distant. Another Christmas Day is blurring into a memory.
Yet, the meaning of Christmas can be an ongoing daily reality:
‘For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation of all people’
‘Love, holiness, judgement, affection, righteousness, grace & mercy- they’re all wrapped up in Jesus & we’re now all wrapped up in Him’
(Chris Tiegreen )
‘You are given love, and this love is so extreme , it will take you all eternity to begin to understand it’
(Edward T Welch)
Wow!How can we respond to the greatest Gift of all?
Belfast’s coat of arms has the motto Pro tanto quid retribuamus? which means, ‘What shall we give in return for so much?’
It’s an echo of Psalms 116:12:
‘What can I offer the LORD for all he has done for me?’
There can be no half-hearted response to God’s cornucopian grace:
‘Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all’
We are truly blessed & should be forever grateful to God -the One who so loved that He gave- sacrificially & eternally.
We should ‘Celebrate everyday the wonder of God sending His Son on a sacrificial mission of redeeming grace’ (Paul Tripp)
The angels played a central role in celebrating redemption’s story as they sang God’s message of grace , hope & goodwill. ‘Gloria in excelsius Deo’the celestial choir proclaimed – declaring the good news of great joy. Their songs filled the starry night with praise & the shepherd’s hearts with hope.
Eventually, the songs of goodwill ended. Silence fell on Bethlehem’s hillside as the shepherds ran to worship the baby, born as king, born to die.
So, what happens next?
‘When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.’
Don’t let the joy of Christmas fade away.Let the Spirit of Christmas linger longer as the work of Christmas begins
‘The Lord has done great things for us& we are filled with joy!’