It is amazing to me, after all of the gifts are opened and all of the food is eaten and all of the visitors have departed, how quickly we can leave it all behind and shift right back into our normal modes of operation. Christmas has come and gone, and we are already off to the next thing.
I guess that's why the church fathers and mothers realized that we needed more time and space to consider the mystery and the truth and the significance of what really happened. Thus, Christmastide was born; that period of time following Christmas Day in which we are invited to make time and space for reflection and silence and prayer. It is a time when we pull up a chair (or a bale of hay) to the manger and join the Holy Family as we all welcome, in wonder and amazement, God into our very midst. It is a time when we join Mary as she takes it all in and treasures all of these things up in her heart. It is a time to sit and savor and enjoy and ponder and celebrate the coming of the Light into this dark world. It is a time when we welcome the newborn King into his kingdom.
So do not rush off quite yet. Do not jump back into your busy schedules and many obligations, but take some time to just linger around the stable. Sit beside the manger. Hear the angels voices. Watch as shepherds and wise men and old priests offer gifts and prayers and prophesies to the One for whom they have long waited and watched and yearned. Adore the One who has come among us, the One whose heart would not allow him to stay far away, but wanted forever to be know as God with us--Emmanuel. And finally, let us pay careful attention to how God has been born anew within us and among us, to treasure it up, to ponder it in our hearts, and bask in his glory.