“And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.’ And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’” (Luke 2:48-49,ESV)
As the Christmas season draws to a close, I feel relieved. I am tired of all the consumerism and materialism that the media has been bombarding us with. I am tired of being told what I need to buy, what I need to have. I am tired of hearing of rude crowds of people who claim the holiday season is a time of peace and joy but treat their fellow human beings with barbarity and disrespect. I’m tired of hearing about people giving to those who already have too much, while forgetting the poor and needy. The season is supposed to be about Jesus who came to give joy and peace to people who do not deserve anything, not about making money or amassing kudos.
As the season passes, we are faced with a question “After Christmas, then what?” Well, after Christmas a lot of people are going to crash and burnout. They ignored Jesus while putting a lot of energy into shopping, cooking, eating, decorating, partying and entertaining relatives and friends. They who are either did not consider Jesus at all or put Him on the side while they went off and did their own thing.
Without the help of God, the strength He gives, the strength that comes from living in humble obedience to His will, it is quite common for people to feel exhausted, depressed and sad. What makes things worse is New Year’s Day. Many people celebrate by partying. Many claim that they party because they are happy to be facing a new year with hope and promise. But many face the year with only a superficial hope that things will always improve or at least continue as before. They think God or the gods or fate will continue to bless them no matter what they do, or how they live.
But deep down many harbor feelings of fear, uncertainty and doubt. They try to make themselves feel better, by counteracting those troublesome feelings of dread and anxiety with partying. Once they sober up and the year begins, they will continue to suppress these feelings and thoughts by numbing themselves with alcohol, drugs, work, exercise, music, video games or the internet. After Christmas, then, for most people, it’s business as usual.
A lot of us Christians do the same thing. A lot of us fall into the pattern of the world’s ways of thinking and acting. We forget to rely on God. We forget to ask Him how we should be spending our Christmas holiday season. We forget to ask Him what we should be doing with our lives. We continue to do what we want to do without considering that God may have other plans. Failure to consider what God wants from us is often the reason why we feel so exhausted, why we fall so easily into sin and compromise, why we neglect to be kind to others and forgive those who offend us. We are too busy building our kingdom rather than the kingdom of God
The question about what happens, what we need to do after Christmas is answered by Jesus in the passage from Luke. I must be in my father’s house doing my father’s business.