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The Anticlimacy of Christmas

Something’s wrong with me.  I’m already feeling like Christmas is anticlimactic, and it’s not even Christmas yet.  (And I’m making up words like anticlimacy).  Most people reserve melancholy for after the fact, but not me.  I like to get a jump on these sorts of things.

I suppose I’m just getting to the point in my life where the years have piled up enough to notice some things that are always true.  And for me, I always find the day after Christmas to be a bit of a letdown.  I don’t even put all that much stock in the trappings of Christmas, but there are at least 5 things I love about Christmas, and the truth is, they never pay off.  Even the good things don’t pay off.

It’s not the things themselves.  We can say they are morally neutral.  Or we can say they are gifts from God to be enjoyed, if enjoyed in the right way.  And both are probably true.  No, the issue is my own heart.

As I consider why this might be so, two things come to mind.  First, I have unfair expectations.  And second, my expectations are misplaced.

I say unfair because the good things of the Christmas season can never truly satisfy whatever it is that I, and probably you as well, are looking for.  We desire a sense of peace, and comfort, and togetherness, and love, and acceptance, and joy—and a season like Christmas seems like it might just do the trick.  But as happy as this season may be for some (and for others, it’s not happy at all), it never delivers what we think it promises.

I say misplaced for a similar reason.  If Christmas can’t deliver what I’m looking for, then something must be able to do so.  Lewis picked up on this:  “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was made for another world.”  And while he’s right, I would add to this that we were not only made for another world, but for the Person who is the chief reason for this other world.

At the end of the day, the way to avoid the inevitable letdown is to see all the good things of Christmas as the vapors that they are—and to see the One great think of Christmas as the rock that He is.  Life is a vapor, and all things exist for Jesus, so enjoy the good things of Christmas, knowing they are passing away, and cling to the Rock who will never be moved.


When I was a child, I really love Christmas because of the feeling it gives me. I still feel the same as today. - Aldo Todini

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Chris Tomlinson is a businessman and writer who desires to see people realize the beauty and joy of knowing Jesus. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Anna. He is the author of Crave: Wanting So Much More of God (Harvest House).