The holidays are over. The hubbub and hysteria has gone on hiatus, along with all the hoopla. Hallelujah!
I love Christmas, really I do. But with emphasis on everything and anything other than what it’s all about, it’s good to see the Christmas season fading in rear view. And even though New Year’s celebrations tell us it’s time to start over, for a fresh beginning, that doesn’t mean we get a mulligan. We can’t erase past mistakes, only live with them and learn from them.
I’ve had enough “Blue Christmas” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “Auld Lang Syne” (what’s that mean, anyway?) has never been one of my musical favorites. So we can revert to our normal preferences, whether country-western, pop, blues, jazz or whatever.
Speaking of the blues, once the gift wrapping is discarded, along with the last crumbs of holiday treats, many of us find that’s all that remains…the blues.
Friends living in the Southern Hemisphere are ready to enjoy their springtime. But for us Northern Hemisphere types, Mother Nature seems to have entered hibernation, maybe to sleep off too much holiday revelry. Winter has settled in, with its cold, damp, snow-ice-slush combination. A glimpse of the first snowflakes is fun, but after a while it’s just “stupid snow!”
But even more than the cold and frigid precipitation is the gloom brought on by diminished sunshine. Mankind wasn’t made to live in the dark. We need sunlight to feel energized. So those short winter days and long nights lead to dimmed, lethargic spirits. Experts call it "seasonal affective disorder."
Combined with the reality that the anticipation of the holidays is now history, we face months with little to look forward to. That is, unless you’ve booked a Caribbean cruise or a trip to Hawaii.
As a student at The Ohio State University (we didn’t make a big deal of the “The” when I was there), my spirits generally were uplifted – except during winter quarters. Those were the times when I came closest to clinical depression. It seemed like a dark cloud dropped on the campus during those months, with nothing to look forward to besides exams for boring classes I detested. Blue Christmas? I endured Blue after-Christmas.
Winter or not, we often experience a letdown after something long-anticipated arrives and departs. Kind of like reaching the mountaintop, and then remembering you have to return to the valley.
This is where faith is particularly valuable. For followers of Jesus, we have much to look forward to – along with the confidence that when God’s promises are fulfilled, they will far exceed our expectations.
For instance, Titus 2:13 talks about, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” In Ephesians 3:20 we’re told about “Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.”
One of my favorite promises is 1 John 3:2, which says, “now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he (Jesus) appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
And in John 14:2-3, Jesus Himself said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms…. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am.”