Christmas is over – just like at the first Christmas. Back then the shepherds returned to their flocks. The wise men returned to the east. Everything was pretty much back to normal. Just like here and now.
Of course there are the bills to pay, and of course the decorations must be taken down and stored until next year, except, of course those that will be retired after having been hung for too many years.
Christmas is over. Mary, Joseph, and their newborn son leave Bethlehem. Unfortunately they cannot go home since King Herod, having learned that a new king is born has declared that all male babies in Bethlehem be executed in order to safeguard his throne. The family instead heads to Egypt to hide out until things calm down.
Christmas is over. Eventually the family returns from Egypt and Jesus goes to live in his home town, learning his father’s trade as a carpenter.
But in the same way Jesus ultimate role in life was not to be a carpenter, so too we are reminded that when Christmas is over our life’s work is just beginning. Those who follow Christ and call themselves Christians now need to take the joy of Christmas and put it to work. We are called to love, nurture, help, and be an example to others, not to bring attention to ourselves, but to demonstrate what the coming of Christ has meant to us.
So as we transition into a new year, remember that even though Christmas is over, Christmas is not the checkered flag – instead it’s the starting gun.