I think I finally figured out why I’m always a little sad when Christmas Day is over. It took me 40-something years, but I believe I now know the answer.
Christmas is first and foremost about Jesus, the baby born in a manger to save us all.
But Christmas is also a time of remembering.
For me, Christmas is a time when I think about all the people that I love who are gone. It’s about places and events that live now only in my memory.
Every time I catch a whiff of a burning candle or see colored Christmas tree lights, I turn 10 years old again. All those faces of the ones who aren’t here anymore are just a little clearer and closer in my mind. I can remember some of the gifts, not because of what they contained but because of who gave them to me.
I miss these people a little more around the Christmas season. My heart hurts a little more because I won’t ever see them again this side of heaven.
But the good news of Christmas is that goodbye isn’t really goodbye. It’s more of a “see ya later, alligator.” Death isn’t the end anymore. Because of what started in Christmas in a manger and ended up on Easter on a cross, I have hope.
I will see my loved ones again. They won’t be old and sick and in pain. They will know me and know my name. They will be strong and healthy and more alive than they’ve ever been before.
So I’m a little sad after this latest Christmas has come and gone, but I’m also filled with a little more hope than this time last year. That Christmas spirit of remembering and loving doesn’t have to end on December 26, but can live on as long as I hold fast to the hope I have in the Jesus of both the manger and the cross.