It was the day after Christmas and I was doing my run/walk around the neighborhood. I passed a gentleman and jubilantly said, “Merry Christmas!” He was taken a little aback, and I could tell did not know how to respond. He paused, and quietly & sheepishly responded with a “Merry Christmas.”
I told my husband about this experience. He said that he had experienced the same thing with a couple of other people, and that he was even going to give a sermon about this topic. I laughed and said that I was planning on writing about it. (Husbands & wives begin to think alike after so many years of marriage!) My husband went on to tell me that when he wished one lady a Merry Christmas, she paused and then said – “It’s over.”
Merry Christmas! Today is New Year’s Eve. Christmas is over. Yep - For many people Christmas is done and gone. Some have already taken down their trees and put away the Christmas decorations. They are now preparing for the New Year, leaving thoughts of Christmas behind. It’s on with the new and out with the old. But is Christmas really over?
I began to think about young children, and how I would respond to them as they entered what is to be York Academy of Discovery, our early childhood program. The children would be returning from Christmas break, and thinking Christmas is over. But this is how I might begin our new year in the classroom:
As the little children enter the classroom, I would give each a hug or a high five and say: “Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! I am so glad you are back. I missed you very much!” Later we would have discussions of things they did over Christmas break, pointing out that we experience Christmas in different ways. We would talk again about Jesus and his birthday. I might even ask the question, “Is Christmas over now?” Many would probably respond with a “yes”.
I might continue like this: I was thinking the other day and asking myself if Christmas is really over. I was thinking about how Jesus was born on Christmas day. He was a baby, and his life was just beginning. This is not the last people would hear about Jesus. As we learn about Jesus, we will see that his birth is only the beginning. Jesus will grow up and teach others how to live. He will show love to little children and to others who are hurting and to those who don’t have friends. We will learn about how he loved all kinds of people and how he loved us so much that he saved us and forgives us for all the mistakes we make.
So I’m thinking Christmas is not really over, Christmas is something we continue to celebrate throughout the year. Christmas is only the beginning. Christmas remains in our hearts and in our minds each and every day. We don’t forget about Christmas because Dec. 25th has past – we remember it as the beginning of a life filled with love and hope presented to all people, a gift from God above because “He so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son.”
So my heart continues to say Merry Christmas! And I wish each of you a Happy New Year! May your new year be filled with many blessings and the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Merry Christmas!