As I hauled the holiday garbage off to the dump, I was thinking about the feeling of coming down from a high. Then I was thinking about what it must have been like for the magi and shepherds that morning after as they mounted their camels* and headed back east.
*Their time of arrival is not documented and it may be that this wasn’t until many months after the night Christ was born. Also, their mode of transportation is not documented.
The roads likely weren’t iced over that day–it was desert in June*(see above)–and the traffic wasn’t bumper-to-bumper for miles. These men weren’t dreading going back to the office on Monday. There was no office, unless you consider field and sky.
And on that note, could “going back to the grind” ever have the same meaning?
Their experience evidenced to them that God intervenes and that he has a redemptive plan. If you don’t believe that, work can feel like its just a way to make car payments so that you can keep getting back to work. It can feel like that even if you believe in redemption. That’s at least been true for me.
But these guys stood on the pinnacle of history, that meeting of BC and AD. History past and history future would come to be defined by this event. Sure, there are those who doubt any of this happened and I understand that. By faith, I believe that it did.
So there they were with Mary, Joseph, and Jesus who was probably crawling by then. What would be particularly amazing about this was that all boys under two had been killed by order of Caesar. A mass infanticide had swept the land. For the child to have survived, the family had to escape. For them to escape, they had to get out before the decree. This would require nothing short of divine intervention.
Then if that happened this way, imagine how “life-changing” such an experience would be. Imagine the flood of thought and emotion a person might go through as they left the baby Messiah and his earthly family.
When Christmas concludes I feel partly let-down and partly relieved. When church services end I’m usually long past ready to go home. I feel guilty sometimes for this. Some people would defend marathon worship services and tent revivals going into the night and into the morning for days on end. If that’s your thing, okay. Love being at church but also know it isn’t wrong to want to leave.
Jesus didn’t stay in the manger. The shepherds and magi weren’t expected to take up residence there. They had to go back the way that they came. The magi had stars to count; the shepherds had sheep to tend. That is all part of God’s intended order.
Leaving this miraculous moment and returning to the ordinary was indeed dreadful but such miracles bleed into the ordinary and by that blood there can be redemption. By that redemption we can find joy.
The seasons turn as God directs them. God is as present in the everyday as in holy days. Christmas comes and goes again. We put the lights up and take them down but the celebration doesn’t end.
Keep Christ in Christmas but don’t leave him there.
If you believe it really happened, let the blood of that miracle spill over into your work week and your new year.
Go but go with God.