If you’re like me, you might feel a sense of sadness or a sense of deflation in your heart. Historically, for my family, Christmas has been a time of great feasting, fellowship and the reminder of the birth of our Savior. As a child, I would get up early on Christmas morning and bang on the bedroom doors in my grandparents’ home because the thought of waiting any longer to open my gifts was unbearable. Then after all of the gifts were opened, grandma and her daughters would continue preparing Christmas dinner: turkey, potato salad, turnip greens, cornbread, rolls, and grandma’s good ‘ol country dressin’! It didn’t get any better in my mind!
Now as an adult, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, Christmas means even more to me. I still enjoy great feasting, fellowship, the emphasis on the incarnation of Jesus and being able to give gifts and seeing expressions of joy and appreciation on others’ faces. It is truly a joyful time. However, once it was all over, I had to examine my heart and ask why was there that sense of deflation. Christmas songs just don’t have the same attraction on December 26, do they? From Black Friday to Christmas Eve there is a media and economic frenzy to shape our minds, hearts and our finances to Christmas morn. But what about the downturn of Christmas? Once Christmas has peaked, how do I handle this deflation? Perhaps you’ve asked yourself this question. Maybe you haven’t.
Discussing this with my wife, I came to the conclusion that the sense of deflation came because I am longing for something better than Christmas. Everything that Christmas represents in my family is merely a shadow of the eschatalogical promises of the gospel. We celebrate the first advent of Christ, we exchange gifts as acts of love, we pray, we sing a hymn, and we gather around the table and feast and enjoy one another with conversation filled with fond memories and laughter. These are just tastes of what is to come for eternity.
The true fulfillment of Christmas is the second advent of Christ and His coming to gather His children who long for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13) who will feast (Matthew 26:29; Revelation 19:6-9) and dwell with Him in the new heavens and the new earth where there will be no sin and incomparable joy in the presence of God.
The Apostle John reminds us of this great promise in Revelation 21:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
(Revelation 21:1-4 ESV)
This truth, which is full of hope, is what I need to remind myself of not only after Christmas, but all year long. May this truth be your consolation as well!