After the Presents

December 25, 2021

Matthew 1:21, 23 NET

“She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins....Look! The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will name him Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.”

Today's Reading: Matthew 1:21, 23 NET

Devo Author: Mark Schatzman

Date: December 25, 2021

The words from last night’s Christmas Eve service still echo… “IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!”

Yet in a few short hours, Christmas Day will be over. My adult children and grandchildren will have gone home. Piled by the front door are the things they left behind, waiting to be returned—a child’s left shoe, several stocking stuffers, a toddler’s blankie, some stray Legos, a knit cap, and “the clown” (our rotating gag gift that once again was “accidentally” left).

By Christmas night, our house is eerily quiet. Lisa and I have finished the dishes. Leftovers are stored for this week’s snacks. Our teenage son is eating the last of the apple pie smothered in whipped cream for his third dessert. The tree that only yesterday grew from soil made of gifts again grows from the Christmas tree stand. Presents are now possessions. Wrapping paper is in the recycle bin. And a tired but happy couple sips some decaf while listening to quiet instrumental Christmas music. We talk about what a great family day it was and we say, “It’s hard to believe Christmas is over already.”

Really? We need to take that thought captive. Because when the angel spoke to Joseph about that first, fast-approaching Christmas Day, he described it with wonderful permanence.

“Look! The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him Emmanuel,” which means “God with us" (Matthew 1:23 NET).

We know, sing, and say this majestic name of Jesus all through the Advent season. But let the name Emmanuel sink in on this quiet, empty Christmas night. God is WITH us. God IS with us. Because Jesus came at Christmas, the living, eternal God is a constant companion. Again, let the wonder of that truth settle upon you.

Emmanuel means there is nothing you walked through this last year that our Living Lord did not join you in. He comforted, guided, coached, and encouraged you. He used those circumstances to bring about His glory and your good. Emmanuel also means there is nothing we will face in this upcoming New Year that will not include our strong, wise, and good Savior!

Christmas can never be over! Today’s celebration is a reminder of our eternal Savior who gifted to us Himself and His salvation. We may have celebrated His coming in a unique and climatic way today, but may the presence of His life mark each and every day. This past and new year, His presence sweetens the days we are glad to savor and strengthens the days we will be called upon to endure.

So on this Christmas night Lisa and I will say, “Merry Christmas!” one more time as we collapse in bed, tired but happy.