So, the decorations are down again and back in their box, the cards are carefully put away, and the tree, real, is recycled, or artificial, put away to await next time. Christmas is over for another year.
What will we take away from it? Memories, to be sure, some of events that we wish had never happened, and some that will cheer us for a long time to come.
The shops will be pleased, but then that is their purpose, to make money because of Christmas. What was our purpose in celebrating Christmas? A brief holiday? A bit of a break? A chance to catch up with family and friends?
Or something a bit deeper? A chance to be reminded that this life is not all there is.
That there are deeper and better realities that what we experience now. That there is a God who has made us, who actually cares very much about us, and who wants the very best for us. He has made the first move by entering this world in the human called Jesus. He has a plan and a purpose for each person’s life, and he wants us each to enjoy what he has prepared for us.
The story of the wise men reminds us that wealthy and powerful people need him, and the story of the shepherds reminds us that the message of the angels is for very ordinary people as well. He looks to us to respond. A new year calls. Enjoy.
Revd Malcolm Saunders, retired Church of England Minister