I think I always have.
While the crazy nights and busy days leading up to the “big event” are exciting and cheerful, it’s the after that really brings peace to my soul.
It’s the quiet morning coffee with the presents all unwrapped and still. It’s crisp frost-covered grass glistening in the morning sun on a day where we have nothing to do but be. It’s the purposeless, directionless floating around a messy house that doesn’t need to be attended to just yet.
This year the day after Christmas was particularly peaceful. My husband, sadly, had to return to work, so it was just me and the Pickle. I had Disney movies on all day that I watched more than her. She played with her new kitchen appliances, making me coffee and pancakes and toast. I talked to my family for over an hour, recounting our Christmas adventures from several states away. The Pickle fell asleep on the couch while playing a game.
In the afternoon we took her money to the store to buy finger paints and markers and new sippy cups. And we hurried to the park to ride her new bike just as the sun was slipping down over the lake.
After dinner she painted. And painted and painted and painted. And the house settled into a peaceful slumber. Christmas lights still twinkling, but not nearly so urgently as before. Stockings still hung, but now drooping slightly, still tired from the weight of their Christmas delivery.
And there he lay.
After the birthday cake. And the milk and cookies. And the tearing of paper while it was still dark. And the family. And the grilling. And the chill. He lay still in his manger.
Reminding me that when the new becomes old and the box lids are sealed and sky is dark again and the shepherds have returned to their fields only One thing remains.
And while the birth of the King of Kings prompts angels songs and the explosion of heaven and the worship of kings, it is the Prince of Peace that remains in the quiet corners of everyday.
It is Peace that fills the hours and the days that follow Christmas. It is Peace that makes all things new. It is Peace that emerges from the Springtime tomb. And Peace that makes the oceans still after a summer storm.
We worship the King. We cry out for grace. But we rest contentedly and quietly in the presence of Peace.
In these days there is a great sigh. Knowing there are no more surprises. No more anxious waiting. No more wishes for blessings. Peace has come. And it’s on peace that we lay the foundation for a new year. Peace in knowing the Savior of the world has come- not just for Christmas. Not just for Bethlehem or for midnight mass or for the pious. But for you and me and here and now and 364 other days that must be lived before we sing Christmas once again.
We have unwrapped the swaddling clothes and found that the Birthday of Grace is also the Birthday of Peace. Our gift is not the birth… our gift is the peace of knowing that there was a day after the birth. And a day after that. And a day after that.
And every day after that on into eternity.
He remains. He is our Peace.