Monday, December 26, 2005

On the day after Christmas...

A few observations about December 26, gleaned from many years of people-watching:

On the day after Christmas, people smell good. It's the chance to try out that new celebrity fragrance or the rugged new manly cologne unwrapped the previous day. So for at least one day, the new perfumes are dabbed on the pulse points or misted across the body. People seem to dress better also. If a person is wearing jeans, nine times out of ten they are brand new jeans -- even the distressed and beaten-senseless jeans which aren't supposed to look new, but they are. The new sweaters make their debut. Fresh hats, gloves and coats are being broken in and the fashion accessories are tried out. It's a little like a fashion show, with everyone showing off their favorite gifts.

On the day after Christmas, shoppers are not interesting in anything without a "SALE" tag attached. I could be selling real diamond rings for $29.95, but if the sign doesn't mention at least 50% off, the shoppers walk by unaffected. The value of most items is low on December 26. Most of us have been bombarded by presents -- useful and useless -- so that the thrill of getting something new is really non-existant. Give me bargains, or get out of my way!

On the day after Christmas, most people are tired. Let's face it, Christmas can really take it out of you -- especially if you have more than one family event to attend. And if it takes a couple of hours in the van to get there and another couple of hours to get back, the day gets shorter and harder. Wrapped presents are packed into the vehicle to go and unwrapped presents are packed into the vehicle for the return trip. Oh, and the food! Don't forget the food! Or the plates of leftover ham and turkey and pie and assorted deserts! Overeating doesn't really add to the ol' energy level.

On the day after Christmas, many people are already dreading going back to work. A holiday is nice, but the world keeps on turning and that desk full of paperwork is waiting for the return of the workday. We never really seem to escape for long.

On the day after Christmas, most are ready for some quiet time. I sure could use a little. With kids playing with new (noisy) toys and all the racket of the past few days, crawling off into a corner for a few hours sounds mighty appealing. Also, depending upon your feelings about your relatives, you may be sick to death of them by December 26. Or maybe the family has been the brightest spot of the holiday.

On the day after Christmas, most of us are unchanged in our faith. Those of us who know Christ as Savior are touched by the remembrance of Jesus' birth, but nothing really seems to change. In truth, we spend far more time celebrating the world's version of Christmas than we do the scene in the Bethlehem stable. Those who are on the fringes of faith are also seemingly unchanged by the remembrance of Christmas. Even a worship service on Christmas morning or a cantata on Christmas Eve brings only a rush of tradition or a short easing of the guilt of ignoring our Creator most every other day.

Why do we go to so much bother if it really doesn't affect us spiritually? Is it so we can look and smell better, overeat with the family and blow a wad of cash on presents for others so others will blow a wad of cash on presents for us? If Christmas doesn't bring us closer to Christ, then what's the point?

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