Christmas is finally over. The presents are unwrapped. Family gatherings have come and gone. Now it’s back to real life. But real life can seem pretty drab compared to the excitement of the holiday season. After all, the kids will soon be back to school. Routines will once again be in place. And that’s where the proverbial “post-Christmas blues” enter in.
Because this is a special time of year, there is definitely a special spirit that accompanies many of our December festivities. From inspiring Christmas music, to #LighttheWorld acts of service, to sacred moments pondering the miracle of a babe in a manger in Bethlehem, we cherish this season when Christians across the globe stop to focus on Christ’s birth.
Packing Away Baby Jesus
Then it all comes to a screeching halt. Nativities are put away until next year. We no longer see articles in our newsfeed about keeping “Christ” in Christmas or the miraculous birth of a baby two millenia ago. The last day on our #LighttheWorld countdown has been marked off.
Our so-called holiday “spiritual high” is contrasted with a sudden low as the calendar moves right along to December 26, leaving Christmas behind. But maybe we have it wrong. Does the Savior accidentally fade into the background of our lives because His birthday celebration is over, or do we deliberately put him there? After all, such an intense focus does take a lot of time. And a lot of energy. Can’t we just put in three or four really Christ-centered weeks and go back to our regular lives? Well, the answer to that question is actually the key to avoiding the post-Christmas blues—No! Don’t pack away baby Jesus!
Christmas 24/7 365
You see, true followers of Christ never lose focus on Him. After all, didn’t He command us in Doctrine and Covenants 6:36: “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not?” That 24/7 focus on the Savior at Christmas should be our commitment the whole year. Alma reminds us, “yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (Alma 37:36).
Honestly, this does take a lot of effort. It takes concentration. It takes a deliberate removal of distractions, which then allows us to take time to be holy. But what’s the benefit? Why is it not good enough that we simply serve our hearts out and sing our carols and declare “Merry Christmas” for 3 or 4 solid weeks every year? Why must all our thoughts and all our doings focus on the Savior forever (not just from Thanksgiving to Christmas)?
Always Remember Him
Don’t take me wrong. There’s no doubt that most of us are definitely remembering the Savior more than just once a year. As members of the Church we are blessed with the opportunity to worship each Sunday and remember Him specifically when we partake of the sacrament.
But the same applies to Sunday worship as it does to Christmas. Are we like the Zoramites who attended religious services one day a week and then abandoned their faith the rest of the week? Because to truly honor the gift of our Savior, we must receive it not just yearly, or monthly, or weekly. It’s a precious offering that should be intentionally pondered each and every day of our lives. Just as we hear each Sunday during the sacrament prayer, we should “always remember Him.”
To use a Christmas analogy—how sad would it be if we worked tirelessly to create a handmade gift for a loved one, spending hours of our time and a good deal of money to produce it, only to have the gift glanced at once on Christmas day and then shoved in a closet the rest of the year?
What About the Blues?
What does all this have to do with post-holiday sadness? It’s easy. Just ask King Benjamin. He taught his people all about having Christmas every day. For King Benjamin and his people, the pieces of the puzzle fit together like this: remembering our Savior leads to faith in Him, which leads to repentance, which leads to a remission of our sins, which leads to “exceedingly great joy,” which, by the way, is the opposite of the “blues” (see Mosiah 4).
So celebrate Christmas every day! Listen to Christmas carols all the time! Keep your nativity set out for 12 months out of the year! Whatever it takes to keep your eyes on the Savior. In maintaining this kind of constant focus, you will eventually become as the people of King Benjamin: “filled with joy, having received a remission of [your] sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which [you have] in Jesus Christ” (Mosiah 4:3).
Merry Christmas in March! Hallelujah in July! Joy to the world in September!
For He condescended and was born on earth. He gave His life willingly. He was resurrected and He lives again! And He was and is our Redeemer, the Son of God that saved us all…