‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not one in the house
The gift wrapping was strewn across the floor without care
In hopes that some angel would pick it up from there
Bill sat down at the table and placed his coffee in front of him. Yes, it had been a good Christmas, the children all seemed to have enjoyed their presents; or at least from the looks of the house they had enjoyed playing with the wrapping paper and boxes. Sometimes he wondered whether they shouldn’t just give the children empty boxes. Jimmy and Susie both seemed to play with them on Christmas Day as much as their new toys.
“Oh, daddy, I don’t want to wear my new toys out.” Susie was the practical one. Half of her toys were still in their packages. She somehow thought that Christmas would last longer if she only took part of them out. She did have a point; she would have new toys each day for the next several days. But then even they would run out.
And Jimmy, well, Bill already had to fix two of his toys.
Bill looked out at the newly fallen snow. He supposed that he should clean off the sidewalk, but then no one probably would be coming over today, that is except for the mailman. He would have plenty of time to clean it later. Perhaps he could clean up the leftover dishes for Shirley before she got up. Most of them had been done, but when you have the number of visitors that they had yesterday, there were always dishes missed because they were in hiding. Why anyone would put an empty glass under the stereo, Bill hadn’t a clue. But again, Shirley probably wouldn’t be up too early either. He would have plenty of time. He would just keep an ear out for the baby, so he wouldn’t wake her up.
The baby, little Johnny, he was the reason so many came over yesterday. His first Christmas and he was the center of attention. Bill couldn’t remember when he ever got as many presents as Johnny had. Bill envied Johnny, not for how many he got, but for the fact that Johnny could have cared less. At five months of age, presents and Christmas doesn’t really matter much.
Perhaps, if I were a little more like Johnny, I wouldn’t feel like I do today. Bill really enjoyed Christmas, but the day after and worse than that Monday morning was usually the worst days of the year for Bill. Oh, he would get over it, thankfully New Year’s comes next week and he will convince himself that a new year meant a new start. Then the Christmas blues would fade away and he would continue merrily on his way until next Christmas. But that was what really was bothering him today. Every year it seemed like a repeat; like watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the umpteenth time. Christmas comes with so much promise and leaves with such a hole in his life.
Bill reached across the table as his eye caught a piece of brightly colored paper. As he picked it up, he realized that it was that pamphlet that his crazy fanatical brother had sent with his Christmas card. Ever since Joe “got saved”, he had been working on Bill. Somehow he was convinced that Bill needed “saved” as well. But I’m OK, Bill thought, I go to church regularly Sunday mornings and I read my Bible occasionally, I’m a good family man. I don’t need the fanaticism Joe has.
Bill went to place the pamphlet back, but some wording on it caught his eye. What did it say about peace? Bill looked again and read, “Jesus came to bring peace into the world, but many today are living without peace in their lives.”
Bill wondered how whoever wrote this, knew that was what he was feeling right now. Yes, he had a good Christmas, but something was missing. There was an emptiness that couldn’t be filled with presents, dinner, family or friends. Yes something was missing that he just couldn’t explain. He read on, “Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
But I’m not a sinner, Bill thought. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Bill read on. Hmm, I didn’t know that was in the Bible. Perhaps, ... what was that his Pastor had said? You are not a sinner because you sinned, but you sin because you are a sinner. Yes, it was something like that. Well, maybe I don’t have a list of sins but I guess, I’m not really what I should be. Bill mused on that for a while.
He watched out the window as the neighbors cat prowled around the garbage cans by the garage. “hmm, that cat can smell the food in those cans, but can’t get to it.” Bill said softly to himself. “I guess maybe that’s me, I know there’s something there, but I can’t get to it. There is a hunger, but I can’t fill it.”
It was then that Bill realized that he was talking out loud and actually arguing with himself. He was beginning to sound like Joe. But it was true. There was a void that even Christmas could not fill. No, Christmas was just like that food that old cat wanted. If he did get it, he would soon be hungry again.
Bill turned his attention back to the pamphlet and now read it eagerly. “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” “ But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
As Bill read on, tears began to stream down his cheeks. Yes, he had considered himself a Christian, he had believed about Jesus, yet still something was missing. Here was that something, that abundant life, that peace, that water to quench his soul’s thirst. Quietly he slipped onto his knees beside the kitchen chair.
“Oh Lord, I have known about you all my life. I have believed that You did come as a Baby that first Christmas. I have tried to live a good life. But still there is emptiness. Lord, I am a sinner and I need you shed blood to wash me clean. I need you to enter my life, to give to me that eternal life and peace that you promised. Come into my life and be Lord of it.”
As Bill prayed, he sensed a forgiveness and peace that he never had before. Now he understood the true meaning of Christmas, it was not just the birth of a Baby, but the coming of the Prince of Peace. Christ came to fill that gap in his life. But more than that Bill now knew the Christ of Christmas in a way he never had before.
After a time, Bill rose to his feet and began walking, no began running, towards the bedroom, “Shirley”, no he should let her sleep, but no he was too excited. He had just received the best Christmas gift ever given and he had to tell her. No more post-Christmas blues for him, for Christmas would now be all year long.