The main events are over: the decorating, the programs, the gift-giving. Yes, there may be a few more get-togethers to enjoy. You may still have family camped out in the living room (we do), and there’s still New Year’s Eve to look forward to.
But most of us are now experiencing the afterglow of Christmas—an agreeable feeling following a pleasant experience. (Thank you, Mr. Webster.)
In an effort to extend the euphoria, I skimmed through my blessings journal to remember special moments of Christmases past. I was surprised by the number of them and the fact I had forgotten many.
One year my husband’s parents were going to fly the five of us from South Florida to their home in Ohio for Christmas. Our kids could hardly wait, excited by the prospect of a new phenomenon—snow.
I was teaching school at the time, and a colleague, Beth*, asked me early in December, “Do you have warm clothes to take with you?”
“We have a few things,” I responded. “But I’m going to check the thrift stores over the weekend, and we can layer up.”
“Well, we have a bunch of stuff. Our family usually heads north for Christmas, but we’re not going this year. Let me loan you our gear.”
Beth gave me sweaters, hats, gloves, and five coats. I think every item fit someone in our family.
As the kids became teenagers, their schedules became busier. Getting five people where they needed to be with only two cars was a challenge. Then a friend from church offered to sell us his car at a very low price. (He was buying a new one.) It was a blessing we hadn’t pursued, hadn’t even prayed for. But it proved Matthew 6:8 perfectly: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
Our older son got a car for Christmas that year.
Another year I needed a long black skirt for the Christmas musical at church. Pushing through a long to-do list each day, I kept postponing the eventual mall trip. But the afternoon I finally went shopping, God met me at Macy’s! Not long after arriving in the misses’ department, there it was: the perfect, ruffle-and-lace-trimmed skirt for almost 75% off!
How amazing is our God? He keeps track of planetary movements and weather patterns, yet he cares what we wear (Matthew 6:28-33)!
Thank you, Heavenly Father. Reviewing Christmases past does give me a lovely afterglow. But it’s not the holiday memories as much as your involvement in those moments that causes the glow in my heart. Each instance proves your loving care, and the obvious pleasure you take in surprising your children with good things. I celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness (Psalm 145:7).
What Christmas memory gives you an afterglow?