The Day After Christmas…

Wrapping paper strewn across the floor
Tissue paper wads tossed in corners
Gifts opened, thank-yous said.
Yumminess of every conceivable type consumed.

It’s over.
For another year, Christmas is over.

Or is it?
Yes, the Hallmark movies will start winding down and the Christmas songs will disappear from the radio.
The decorations will come down.
And the bills will start to trickle in.
Gifts will be exchanged or tucked away in the corner of a closet.
Others will be proudly worn, used, read, or spent.
And we have until August before we start seeing Christmas commercials again.

But is it really over?
Or it is just the beginning?

It can be.
After all, Christmas celebrates only the beginning of the life of Jesus on this earth.
He had years of growing to do before he began his earthly ministry at age 30.
A few years in Egypt to escape King Herod.
The return to Israel and the area of Nazareth.
The addition of brothers and a sister to the family.
Learning to be a carpenter at his Father’s side.
And then, finally, launching the announcement that the Kingdom of God had come, that a New Covenant written in blood was in the works, that New Birth is made possible for all who will come.

Christmas was not the end of the story.
It was the beginning.

What if it is the beginning for you?
It can be.
The beginning of a relationship with the living Lord, acknowledging Him as your much-needed Savior.

Or, if you have done that already, the beginning of living under His Lordship, finally surrendering that thing – or things – you have been holding onto for so long.
Picking up new habits, new lifestyle changes, new thinking.
Being “transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
Or, letting go of those things you know He has asked you to release.
Bad habits.
Sinful patterns.
Old ways.

Perhaps it is the beginning of a renewed marriage.
Or a better relationship with your kids.
The beginning of a new discipline.
Like time in His Word every day and not just on Sunday.

Perhaps it is letting go of a good thing, like activities with your kids that happen on Sunday mornings, in exchange for the best thing – the gathering together with other believers for worship as we are commanded.
Perhaps it is turning off the social media for just five minutes to sit at the feet of Jesus.
Or perhaps it is finally surrendering all of your finances into His hands.

It is going to be different for each of us.
But He will make it clear.
No matter what it is, today can be the beginning of you walking in obedience to whatever it is He is calling you to do – or not do.

He has been tugging at your heart for a while now.
What if Christmas – or, the day after Christmas – is your fresh start?
Hands and heart open to whatever He asks you to do.
No caveats.
No holdbacks.
Simply surrendered.

A new beginning of a new life.

It’s possible you know.
Not just because He was born and put into a manger.
And not because He grew up to be sinless, perfect in all His ways.
Not because He gave us an example of how to do life really, really well.
And not because He was God in the flesh.

All those are part of the equation.
But the reason the day after Christmas can be as hopeful as all the days leading to it is because of what He didn’t do.
He didn’t stay dead.
He died the death of a common criminal.
And he was put in a tomb borrowed from an ordinary man.
He was completely and totally dead.
The Romans saw to that.

But He didn’t stay that way.
On the third day, He rose.
And the Bible clearly says that, for a Christ-follower, that same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in you.
And that He who began a good work in you will keep it up until the day you see                  Jesus face-to-face.
That you have ALREADY been given everything you need for life and godliness.
And that the Holy Spirit of God indwells you, filling you with power from on high, the power to choose to do things God’s way.
No matter which way you have tried before.
It is a new day.
A fresh start.
The day after Christmas.
The day Jesus began to grow.
To change.
To become first a toddler.
Then a young boy.
A young man.
And finally a man in his prime.
Experiencing every emotion you feel, every temptation you face,                           every situation humanity brings.
Yet without sin.
And, eventually, cut down, executed for crimes He did not commit so that He could take our sin on Himself.

And yet He is not dead today.
He lives.
So that the day after Christmas can be the most powerful day of your life.
As well as the day after the day after.
And every day after that.
If they are the days that you surrender.
The days you yield to do things His way.
The days you say, “I believe. Help my unbelief. I am yours. Do in me, through me and in spite of me all that You will.”

Yes, it starts with one day.
Perhaps for you it is Tuesday, December 26, 2017.
But it goes on and on.
“His mercies are new every morning” the prophet said.
“Great is His faithfulness!”

So today, you can spend your time being disappointed in what didn’t happen yesterday.
You can live in the let-down of post-Christmas blues.
You can use this day as another day to put off that act of obedience He is calling you to do.
Or you can make this day – and every day after – the first day of the rest of your life.
The day you surrender all.

Because He is worth it.
During the weeks before Christmas.
The day of Christmas.
And every day after it as well.
He is worth it all.
Don’t take my word for it – take His.
And see what He can do in a fully-surrendered life.
On December 26 – or any day of the year!

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