IT'S A KIND of limbo on the calendar. What do people do during the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve? The simple answer is that adults go to work, children don't go to school and life moves forward like every other week.
A less-simple answer is that people wind down from the Christmas rush but gear up for yet another year. It is a week that encompasses both a "letting down" and a "looking up."
The context: The push toward, the anticipation of, the adrenaline resulting from Christmas. The symptoms: A drop-off in energy, a deflation of spirits, an empty wallet, an enlarged girth, a sense of loss. Christmas has come and gone.
The holiday interlude is a time of letdown. It is also a time to make ready for the old onward-and-upward routine. A new year is on the horizon. Yet another round of good cheer and mirth beckons. It'll be a new day.
Things are looking up. Energies revive. Plans start getting made. Resolutions are deliberated and readied. A new year promises new opportunity and newfound potential. Dreams and aspirations abound. And another Christmas is on the way.
It's all part of the season. I don't know, though: It all seems so circular, as if we are stuck in a pattern, like a merry-go-round that starts out charmingly but ultimately makes one dizzy looking at the same things over and over again.
The promise and the hype never quite seem actualized. A feeling of waste can hang in the air. Reality returns with a vengeance. Yet there is this lingering sense that there is more, something more substantive than has yet been appropriated.
The sense is right. There is . . . something more substantive, that is. It's the reason for the season. It's the new life, not the forthcoming year, that whispers and shimmies and moves and prods and beckons us. That something more is Jesus.
Christians know who he is. More and more younger people haven't even heard of his name. More people simple know about Jesus, with various and contrasting opinions concerning him. Who is he?
He is God. He is our Savior. He is the one for whom the Jews had waited for more than 1,000 years. We have been waiting more than 2,000 years for his return. It has been quite an interlude.
And there is no better time to reckon with Jesus Christ than during an interim of a holiday that celebrates his birthday and another that is referenced by his date of birth. Interims and interludes are instruments of God in the interests of his people.
Scripture says that Jesus, "being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:6-11)
Is there a better reason to pay homage to the babe at Christmas or to prepare godly resolutions for the incoming year? He is worthy of our praise at any and all times. He is Almighty God amid grand epochs, as well as interludes of time. Hallelujah!