I read a great devotional this morning as I was praying and thinking about the day after Christmas. In stead of writing my own reflection, I am sharing this one verbatim. I hope you will enjoy it and allow the Word made flesh to fill you today with his glory and his grace.
Dr. Rusty Freeman
An After Christmas Thought
The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son. John 1:14
Some way, Christmas slips up on us every year as though we didn’t have the faintest idea when it happens, and we get caught totally by surprise almost every year! Now Christmas is over and the big rush is on to take back to the stores the pile of gifts that you don’t want, don’t fit, or don’t need. Today we breathe a sigh of relief and whisper, “Thank God, it’s over for another year…” and then feel guilt because we feel that way. But we do, and we can’t help it.
In a lot of cases, Christmas decorations will come down this weekend as we try to shake off the weariness from the holidays and get back to the business of living. But, at times I get a cold feeling that when the decorations are packed, we’re setting this whole business of Christ’s coming aside for another year–almost as though Bethlehem doesn’t fit into the business of life in the 21st century.
Is Christmas only a holiday–a blowout with all the trimmings–or is it the thoughtful remembrance of Him who brings lasting hope for all mankind 365 days each year? If there is no God who has revealed Himself in the flesh via Bethlehem, where do we turn for hope–Washington, Beijing, Moscow, Geneva, Tel Aviv or Cairo? Ruling out the option that there is a God who controls the fate of man, we are faced with the grim pessimism of world powers, which have no solution to lasting peace; super weapons that could annihilate humanity as we know it, several times over; power struggles for food, oil, and basic commodities that send us greedily snatching anything we can grab.
In 1953, a country singer by the name of Hank Williams was riding the crest of popularity. Millions sang his country songs and voiced his praise. One evening, Williams was on his way to a stage appearance when he slumped over in the seat of an automobile. An ambulance rushed him to the hospital where he was pronounced DOA–“dead-on- arrival.” An analysis of his blood revealed an explosive combination of drugs and alcohol. That night, Williams was to give a concert of his country songs that had made him famous. The general public hadn’t heard that their idol was dead and filled the theater where he was to appear. It was the grim responsibility of the manager to walk out on stage and tell the people that Williams was dead. As he turned and walked away, a single spotlight fell on an empty stage as the band played his then famous song, “I Saw The Light.”
Only days before, Williams and Rosemary Clooney had been on their way to another performance when Rosemary said, “Hank, let’s sing!” And sing they did. Then someone said, “Hank, let’s sing your song”–meaning ‘I Saw The Light.’ Williams sang a few lines and stopped, and putting his head in his hands, gently sobbed, “Oh, there ain’t no light, there ain’t no light.”
Was Williams right? Is Christmas only a myth–a religious celebration with no basis in history? Or did the coming of Jesus Christ bring into the world hope for all mankind? John wrote, “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son” (John 1:14).
In a world of pessimism and gloom there still shines a light that endures when the tinsel has faded and the dust begins to settle on the decorations and the world has gone back to their quest for happiness. That light is the light of men–Jesus Christ, Who still offers hope in the midst of a hopeless world. What better hope is there?