Turn out the lights, the party’s over

The week between Christmas and the New Year ends up being a peculiar time for many. It’s a time when we look back throughout the past year at what we accomplished or didn’t accomplish, regrets, and successes. It’s also a time when all the anticipation of Christmas comes to an end. No more anticipating the arrival of Christmas, family gatherings, presents, and the great food! The decorations begin to come down. The fronts of houses start to take their previous form, and the insides lose the Christmas trees as they are packed away for another year.

In the words of Willie Nelson, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

I’m reasonably sure I’m not alone in this, but it can be sort of depressing, right? I mean, we have the build-up, all the celebrations leading up to Christmas, all the activities, all the planning, over in a single day. It seems it took so long to get here, and then it’s just over. Done. That’s it for another year. It’s definitely a mixed bag of emotions for sure!

But what if the celebration continued…only in a different way? What if the adoration of Christmas continued into the new year? Yes, the stories out of Luke 1 and 2 are Christmas stories, but digging a little deeper, we discover that they aren’t meant to remain ones we explore only in December.

Mary treasured these things

I think Mary had a good bead on this, and it’s where we’ll land our plane for this series of posts. Let’s set the scene…

Mary was told that she would be with child, as a virgin. She would give birth to a child from God alone and that He would be the Savior of the world. She faced the whispers of those around her. She faced being pregnant unmarried. She’s just completed the long, arduous trip from Nazareth. She’s hot, tired, and on the cusp of birth. Having no proper place for them to stay for the delivery, they’ve settled for the manure smell of a cave.

Weary from all of this, she’s even more so having just given birth without the help of another woman or midwife. Overwhelmed with it all, she sits and holds her baby, probably just wanting to be alone with her baby and Joseph.

Enter the shepherds.

These guys are filled with wonder and amazement. Remember, they just had a visit from the heavenly host and are excited to share all this with Mary and everyone else they see!

No one knows what was going through Mary’s head. But so much had happened over the last few months. And it all culminated in this one incredible moment in time. What emotions whirled inside her as the reality of what’s just taken place sets in? It was likely all too much to talk about. And it’s here that I think Luke captures her so well.

Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

She stored these things within. She kept them close to her heart, protecting them, meditating on them, preserving them, and treating them like treasure.

Adoration. Worship. I think these are two words that best describe what Mary was experiencing in these brief moments after Jesus’ birth. It was probably a mixed bag of emotions for sure! But significant in this moment is the adoration of what’s just taken place for her. And so, she places them close to her innermost being and hangs onto them.

God’s greatest gift

The lights will come down. The trees will be put away. But the adoration of Christmas continues in our hearts. God sent Jesus to be the ultimate Light in a world filled with darkness. Jesus, the One that gave His life for us so that we could not only spend eternity with Him but have peace in the here and now!

Isn’t that worth celebrating? Isn’t that worth the adoration and worship that Mary treasured in her heart?

God’s greatest gift doesn’t end after December 25th. He continues to live within us all year long. And that’s something to adore and worship!. That’s something to treasure in our hearts when days seem dark and gloomy.

He is the Adoration of Christmas, and we have Him, His love, His peace, and His joy, not just in December, but all time! I don’t know about you, but that moves me within to adoration and worship!

Not just at Christmas time

So, as we close down this series and this Christmas season, what if we did things a little differently moving forward? What if we remembered and treasured as Mary did? Not an unhealthy hanging onto Christmas, but embracing all the ways we can remember the why behind Christmas – That Jesus is our hope, plan, celebration, and adoration! I am convinced that would change our world and result in changing the world around us!

So let’s do it! Let’s never stop celebrating Jesus! Some practical ways of doing this are joining in a worship service, putting some praise and thanksgiving into your prayers, and remembering that…

You are so very loved!

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