The day after Christmas has always been a sad one for me. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and probably my favorite day of the year. Christmas means family gatherings, giving and receiving fun gifts, Christmas carols at church and on the radio, and a whole host of other fond occurrences.
And then I wake up on December 26th, and after a month or more of planning for the big holiday and getting excited about all that it entails….. It abruptly ends. No more family gatherings for the foreseeable future. The presents have all been unwrapped and the wrapping paper is in the trash. The spirit of giving is put in back pockets for use at a later date. Essentially, things change. They go back to ‘normal.’ And it’s sad when all of the excitement dies down and we have to get back to work.
This is actually a feeling I’ve experienced many times in life, as I am sure you have as well. It’s the feeling of the end of a season. Christmas comes every year, but many seasons come and go without ever being repeated. For example, I can remember feeling the same sadness at the end of high school, at the end of my summer as an orientation leader, the first day I woke up back in the States after my time in England, or the day after I graduated college.
There are seasons to life, and almost all of them come to an end. So the question is, what do we do about that feeling of sadness when one season ends and leaves a hole in its place?
I’m not exactly sure what the answer is, but I have some thoughts to share on the matter. First off, I think looking back is important. On this day, I might look back at the Christmas season and understand why I love it so much. What makes it so special? Most importantly, how can I create some of the special feelings throughout the rest of the year? I love the family, service, church, cooking, gifting and weather aspects of the Christmas season.
The wonderful part? Weather is the only aspect I can’t control throughout the rest of the year. I can look forward to the next season of life and apply the things I love about the Christmas season (or any other passing season). No doubt, the Christmas season will always be special for me, but I can do plenty to make the rest of the year special too. Maybe it means planning family get-togethers, participating in service projects regularly, attending church weekly, cooking for friends and family, and giving unexpected gifts. It won’t be Christmas, but it will be fulfilling.
Aside from looking back at what we loved and figuring out how to apply it in the future, I think it also makes sense to use a day like today to think about how we want to spend our time. What is the next defining season of life for us? How will we tackle this season of life head on? What do we want to accomplish or experience? How can I make sure that three months or three years from now I wake up sad that another wonderful season has ended?
And with that, I’ll end this post with a question I would love for you to answer in the comments. What is the next season of life for you? And how are you going to make it special?