Now that Christmas is over, I’m tempted to start shopping for next year. I see no other way to avoid the year end financial and mental crisis that assails me year in and year out. I used to love Christmas when it was all about getting instead of giving and my parents paid all the bills. Christmas was a blast in those days. But now I’m the parent and everything has changed.
My problem is that Christmas is all about the kids and I’m not a kid anymore. Those who know me might wish to argue this last point but I’m speaking in terms of chronological age, not my current maturity level. Don’t get me wrong. I love kids, especially my own. But sometimes it’s just hard to be an adult.
Interestingly enough, Jesus told the adults of His day that unless they were converted and became as little children they would not enter the kingdom of heaven. It’s one of my favourite verses (now that I think about it). But I can’t bring myself to believe that Jesus was advocating for adults to become more childish. It seems to me He was speaking of certain childlike traits that adults should strive to have.
Also, He was reminding us that you can’t have a father without being a child. Father’s don’t have fathers. Children do. If we don’t become spiritual children then how can God become our spiritual Father? Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father who is in heaven….”
I hope you know God as your Father. Santa Claus comes and goes. You can’t really depend on Him. He swoops in, drops a few presents, shows up at parades and parties and then he’s off to the North Pole for a 12 month sabbatical. He’s sort of a cross between a visiting relative and a birthday clown. But a loving father? Not so much. Conversly, God promises to be with us all year, every year. Whether it’s 2017. or 2027.
The blow-up snowman, lighted candie canes, and lazer lights may be removed from the front lawn. The big fake tree with its bulbs and garland may be stuffed back into the cardboard box. But it’s comforting to know that our Father in heaven is too big to be stored away in a plastic container. He can’t be confined to my storage room and I’m most glad about it.
Our relationship to Him is not yearly. It’s daily. It can be just as vibrant during the cold dark chills of February as it is during the glitter and pomp of December. Whether you’re labouring with a scoop to remove a sudden dump of wet snow from the driveway or sitting on a padded chair in a heated sanctuary. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing. You may be hungry. You may be full. You may be sick. You may be well. You may have reached the pinnacle of financial freedom or you may be crushed beneath a load of debt. Either way, God loves you and He promises to be with you always. That’s the message of Christmas.
So the lights may be dimmed. The living room may look a little bare. The spirit of Christmas may have slipped away to another realm. But the Spirit of God doesn’t leave in January. He’s not afraid of the cold and there’s no post-Christmas blues with Him.
As John said: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) So if darkness and gloom seems to be circling around you like a swarm of mosquitoes on a hot summer day, then you might consider approaching the Father of light. You don’t need to write Him a letter, or speak to Him through an elf. He’s as near as the mention of His name.
Commercial Christmas may be over but it’s not too late to become a child again.