Christmas is over. The presents are unwrapped, the wrapping paper thrown away or recycled, the family and guests have all gone home. We have even passed Epiphany, the commemoration of the wise men arriving to worship Jesus.
If you are like me, sometime in the past week or so you began taking down the Christmas decorations, packing them carefully away for next year. I hope to finish that up soon.
I happen to have several nativity sets that I put up every year. One is merely to look at. The other two are for children to play with. As I was putting the pieces away yesterday I of course came to the baby Jesus. For the past number of weeks, the focus of our devotions and worship has been on the incredible mystery of the incarnation – God taking on human flesh, that of a helpless infant no less.
And now, with all the celebrations over, I was packing up the baby Jesus until next year. That struck me as odd.
As I packed away the symbol I wondered about the person of Christ, now risen and seated at the right hand of the Father. What would I do with Jesus this year?
For that matter, how do I even know what to do with him? There seems to be a lot of confusion about this. You see, its fairly easy to worship the newborn king. The infant Jesus seems helpless and tame, his omni-attributes veiled beneath the chubby baby cheeks.
But what about the Jesus who rebukes evil spirits, tells the woman at the well to sin no more, and accuses his followers of being an “unbelieving and perverse generation”?
And what about the Jesus who instead of proclaiming peace on earth as our Christmas cards and carols proclaim, tells the people: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”
Or how about the Jesus who reminds us that the cost of following him is rejection by the world? (Luke 9:23-24; John 15:18-19)
What will I do with all of Jesus – not just the warm and fuzzy parts – this year?