“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
It’s the day after Christmas…Boxing Day, as the Brits, Canadians, and others call it. It used to be a day to show gratitude and generosity to those in public or private service, bestowing gifts in boxes to them. Nowadays, it’s a time to shop post-holiday sales for boxes of bargains.
Today is also Saint Stephen’s Day, in honor of the first martyr for the Christian faith. Stephen was a faithful, powerful disciple of Christ who refused to recant his faith and was stoned by the ruling elders for it (see Acts 6-7 for the full story).
It’s also called the “second day of Christmas,” famous for the gift of two turtledoves from a true love. (I’m thankful my true love didn’t saddle me with those for Christmas…they wouldn’t last two days in my care.) And, the Kwanzaa celebration begins today.
Whatever way it’s observed, today can often be a letdown for many. In our home, we’ve cleared out almost all the decorations. Gone are the festive colors, greenery, and shiny things, stored away until next year. We’re back to “normal” in all its blahness.
Coupled with the massive cold weather front that just swept across the American heartland, today seems very bleak. As I write this, I’m huddled in a blanket with a tiny space heater at my feet, to ward off the frosty chill seeping in through the windows…as it snows outside, once again.
The words of Christina Rossetti’s poem, “In the Bleak Midwinter,” and its tune keep playing in the back of my mind—“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, in the bleak midwinter, long ago.”1
Today is the beginning of the return to reality.
But that’s not a bad thing…if we keep the light of Christmas burning.
I just read a great commentary by Carol McLeod on Crossmap.com that stuck with me—she boldly stated that we are “a Christmas people.”
Let that sink in for a minute. McLeod asserts that we were made for Christmas, and Christmas was made for us…our lives have been forever changed by the arrival of Jesus Christ. “We have not changed Him, but He has changed us,” she says. “Christmas is not over and never will it be!”2
The joy of Christmas doesn’t end when we remember that Jesus is always with us. With His presence and peace, every day is Christmas…an opportunity to celebrate His love, His arrival in our hearts, His gift of eternal life. We need to continually shine a light on that truth and let our own lights “shine” to the world in celebration of His glory.
That’s not easy when Satan seeks to rob us of the season’s beauty. He does his best work when we’re already dreary in the doldrums. We need to call him out on it, rebuking him in the name of Jesus.
My advice? Pray. Burn a candle as you do. Let its light and warmth revive your soul as you cast your cares and weariness on Jesus. Ask Him to send His Holy Spirit to spark a new flame in your heart and keep it going.
Let the final words of Rossetti’s poem remind you that Christ has changed your heart forever:
“What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.”
May this truth resound with you in the coming days…and may His light shine forth in you as a daily Christmas gift to others. You are a “Christmas light”!
Jesus, Light of the World, help us to keep Christmas in our hearts every day. Transform us by the renewing of our minds, that we may remember Your great gift to us in coming to earth. Cast out the sin and dreariness in our souls, as we rebuke Satan’s attacks in Your name. Shine in us, always, that we may be Your “Christmas people” to the world. In Your holy name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2Look for the full blog by Carol McLeod on Crossmap– https://blogs.crossmap.com/2022/12/21/5-lessons-of-christmas-carol-mcleod-ministries
© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography). Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.