How Long Should The Christmas Spirit Last?

Whoo hoo - we made it to Christmas Day! We shopped and wrapped and cooked and cleaned and decorated and sent and did all the things we associate with the Christmas season, and we survived mostly intact! I'm very proud of us.

But now it's two days after Christmas. Life gets back to normal as we wear our new clothes, eat our new snacks and play with our new toys. We go back to work, school and our homes, and we start our routines back up like they were before.

Is that what we're supposed to do? Leave Christmas in the rear view mirror and get back to normal? Pack up all the decorations and put the lights back in the box?

What if we didn't go back to normal? What if we didn't pack our Christmas spirit into the box with the tree, but kept it out all year long?

I read several social media posts during the holidays about customers paying for the car behind them in the drive-through. Other people adopted so many pets that the shelters were almost empty. And many of us spent every day in December writing in our Advent journals, doing a Bible study on the birth of Jesus Christ and continuing to document everything that we're grateful for in our lives.

So now what? Now that it's December 27, are we going to pack it all away and move on? Or are we going to continue to treat other people like they're special (which they are), look for ways to love others (because they're everywhere) and continue to search the Scriptures for the truth of God's word (because it's right there in black and white)?

The peace of Christmas doesn't have to stop when the season ends. Don't we need peace every single day of the year, yet alone our entire lives? I want that Christmas peace to carry me through the trying times that may come along in the weeks to come. I want peace when people and circumstances are difficult. I want the peace of Christ permeating every fiber of my being because it's definitely not going to be peaceful in the world around me.

The hope of Christmas doesn't have to stop when the season ends, either. Don't we need hope in a hopeless, desperate world? I want that Christmas hope to last all year, through the months of waiting, the weeks of praying and the days of looking forward to answered prayers. I want hope on the days that I can't control anything that's happening around me, when I'm waiting with joyful anticipation for God to do another miracle.

The love of Christmas definitely doesn't have to stop when the season ends. Don't we need love when we're surrounded by difficult people, challenging situations and the daily trials of life? I want that Christmas love to wrap me up when people are less than kind, compassion is necessary and life just needs something special. I want love on the days when the people I care about are discouraged and depressed because Christ's love can heal anything.

There is no time limit on the Christmas spirit. It's up to you and me to keep it alive and well and thriving all year. Join me in making sure the peace, hope and love of Christmas don't get packed up with the season's decorations. Now let's use them to bring God's kingdom to earth in powerful and life-changing ways all 12 months of the year!

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