Whew!!

     “Yes it’s over…call it a day. Sorry that it had to end this way.” Those bittersweet words, crooned so well by Johnny Mathis, sum up may folks’ feelings today! Christmas came, Christmas went, and we feel as if it ran over us on the way by! In fact, I had a REALLY strange experience about Christmas being over a few days ago! It was on the 21st, a full 4 days BEFORE Christmas, and I was working on the church bulletin for today’s service- the 26th. When you write things (Bulletins, newsletters, whatever) that are for a future time, you have to put your mindset in THAT time frame, as opposed to the one you are  actually in. So I’m sitting in my living room  working on a bulletin on my laptop at 8PM on the 21st of December, while in my mind it was the 26th of December. On the TV, a commercial started playing that included a kid looking at a Santa snow globe while Nat King Cole’s version of The Christmas Song (“Chestnuts roasting”…and all that!) was playing in the background. I looked up from the computer and said, “Why are they playing that NOW…AFTER Christmas?!” My wife and son looked at me like I had lost my mind…a real possibility, and then I realized what I had done. I mumbled some half-hearted explanation and then went back to my work, hoping they would just forget the whole thing!

     But any way you slice, Christmas IS over now! All the build-up, all the hype, all the work, all the stress….and BOOM!- it’s over in the blink of an eye. And then reality sets back in. You have to go back to work and/or school. The decorations come down. And many folks stop acting so “merry and bright”- instead they sadly go back to the way they USUALLY act! How was your Christmas? Did it meet your expectations? Did all your wishes come true? If so…I fear you are in the minority on that one! We all set our expectations SO high, and in the WRONG direction, that they can’t POSSIBLY measure up. And then we’re disappointed. 
     If that all sounds way too familiar to you, don’t fret! A. You’re NOT alone, and B. there IS hope! And here’s the hope! Many of the groups, ministries and organizations that get special attention/help during the Christmas season tend to become “persona non grata” as soon as Christmas is over. In other words, everybody wants to do something “warm and fuzzy” for the holidays and many of those groups benefit from it. But when the “warm fuzzies” wear off, those groups still have needs! So here’s what you can do to make that “magic Christmas” feeling last longer- pick an organization or two and help them. Maybe it’s a non-profit charity that feeds the hungry or clothes the needy of shelters the homeless- help them. Maybe it’s a church that does good ministry all year, reaching out beyond their walls to make a difference in their community and beyond- help them. 
     Now, you might be saying, “But preacher, I JUST finished Christmas and spent all my money- I don’t have  anything left to give!” I would argue 2 things: 1. I bet the things that are important to you are still getting paid, and 2. you can help an organization without opening your checkbook. Volunteer your…wait for it…TIME. Those kinds of groups need money, to be sure, but they also need workers- folks who are willing to roll up their sleeves and make a difference. 
     This post-Christmas season…make a difference. Let the season of giving, the season of love, continue well into the New year. Who knows, you may like it so much that you find you are STILL carry on Christmas when NEXT Christmas rolls around! And how cool would THAT be?! Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

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