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When it's all said and done...

These past few weekends my husband and I have been hosting his parents at our house for an early Christmas celebration. Now that they are gone, we are faced with going home to a quiet house where only hours prior there had been boisterous laughter you don't get from just the two of us. As great as it was to see them, there is a relief to have my house back to myself, and yet a twinge of sadness that things are quiet and ordinary once again.

I think we all deal with the post-holiday blues in some manner or another. Whether you're an empty-nester, the parents of school-aged children, or have no kids at all, there are those emotional pangs when it's time to take down the lights and put the tree back in the attic. There's that moment when all the presents have been opened and, whether or not you got what you wanted, you realize you're not happy and you're still just you. There's that loud silence when your once noisy home and busy life settles down again. It's coming. You can't avoid it.

In the words of the late great Ray Charles, "Why can't it remain all through the year?" It's a question we ask often this time of year, but it's an excellent question. More than just a whimsical wishing to hold on to the presents and the twinkling lights, we can hang on to that spirit of Christmas all through the year if we choose to.

Christmas, in my opinion, is a time when the world looks like it should. When the Church behaves like we are prescribed to in the Bible. Why can't we hold on to that?

After the gifts have been opened, after the tree is put away and loved ones back in their own beds, we can hold on to the joy that makes this season so special. We don't have to stop. We can hold on to the generosity, and good cheer, and hospitality. We can hang on to Jesus. He is the real reason for the season, and is so much more sustainable and real than anything under the tree or even your favorite Christmas carol.

When all is said and done, Jesus remains. The story of Christ doesn't end at the manger. He came to save you from your sins. If that isn't a reason to rejoice even as the Christmas lights fade, I don't know what is.

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