I took down our Christmas tree a couple of days ago. It was far less exciting than the day I put it up and much scratchier. Maybe you're feeling a little scratchy too as you look back and reflect on the recent Christmas and New Year’s festivities. Perhaps you're feeling a little ho-hum, let down, depressed, and sad because of the end of an extended focus on all that is good.
Ups and Downs
Christmas and New Year's are culturally times of celebration. They are times we gather to enjoy one another, be generous, and feast on good food and drink. All of this is deeply biblical. Traditionally, the people of God have always gathered to commemorate God's mighty deeds in their history (Exodus 12:14-20). Feasting is a time when our gaze is moved from the brokenness and pain in our lives toward God’s intervention in our past for our redemption.
But if we remain in a state of feasting, we do a disservice to the truth that God’s Kingdom, where flourishing abounds and God rules, is currently in a state of Already but Not Yet. What this means is that through Jesus’ life, death, burial, and mighty resurrection, he ushered in God’s Kingdom with a promise that it will one day be the unbroken version of the reality we exist in. Interestingly, this ushering in of the Kingdom is celebrated with a Feast (Rev 19:6-9).
It is the “not yet” part of the Kingdom we do a disservice to when we expect to live in a continual state of feasting. And it is in the letdown of the post-holiday season that some of us truly feel the weight of the fact the there is still much that is not right with our world, our relationships, our bodies, and our souls.
King Solomon, in the summation of his wisdom, penned the book of Ecclesiastes. In it, he writes:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
In this passage, he describes the tension we experience on the other side of the holiday season and in our state of “not yet”.
A Natural Feeling and Response
We should feel some “down” feelings as we wrap up our time of feasting -- it is natural and should lead us to long deeper for the time when Jesus will make all things new through the Word of his power.
What can we do when we're stuck in the post-holiday blues? Enter the next season with deep longing and anticipation that we will feast again soon in the coming redemption of all things.
As you pray, meditate, read Scripture, and spend time in community with one another, talk about these feelings, reflect on the promises of God. Give true value to your feelings and let them be reminders that you feel this way because you long for something more -- a day when all will be made whole and new again.
He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” – Rev 21:5