Ever since I was a kid, I remember having the Post-Christmas-Blues. It's pretty hard not to feel a little depressed when the day you've been waiting for all year has come and gone too quickly. As soon as Thanksgiving ends, we start preparing for Christmas.
We decorate our homes, put on the holiday music, make our wish lists, purchase and wrap our presents, watch Christmas specials on TV, attend Nativity pageants and choirs, go carolling, bake cookies and plan meals, stroll around to see the lights....the events go on and on.
We put so much of our time and thoughts and energy into making Christmas time so magical. And it's the anticipation that I love. Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year because Christmas is so close and you can practically feel the excitement in the air. All we've done to plan for December 25th is complete, and now we are just waiting for the big day and spending time with family and friends.
We go to Mass on Christmas Eve and celebrate Jesus' birthday with a cake afterwards. We reinforce the true meaning of Christmas, and think about all the events that led up to Jesus' birth. But even though we try to meditate on this true meaning, our humanness often takes over and refocuses our minds on the business and materialistic parts of the day. We look forward to presents and food and visiting with family. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with finding joy in those things, we can't let it become more important than the joy we find in Christ.
I heard a homily recently by the deacon at our parish, and at the end he said "If you find yourself feeling depressed the day after Christmas, then you've got to ask yourself....did Christ really come to me?"
That message hit home hard! I started thinking about all the years when I did feel so sad on December 26th, because there were no more presents to open, no more Christmas activities to do, etc. If I had truly placed my hope and joy in Christ's birth instead of the material pleasures of this world, then I wouldn't have been blue at all! Because on December 26th (and every other day), Christ is still born...He is still with us...He still died for us so we could have eternal life. There is nothing to be sad about at all!
Yes, the presents may be gone, but His presence is here to stay!
This year I am trying to remember that message and allow Christ to come to me and stay with me. "For unto us a Child is born", and we celebrate that today and every day. We remember that Christ was born to save us, and while we can never repay His debt, we can at least appreciate it all year long.