I’m praying for a really long “hangover” this Christmas. Let me explain:
The Collins English Dictionary defines a hangover as “the delayed aftereffects of drinking too much alcohol…” A “Christmas Hangover” is what I’m calling that time after the annual family gathering/gift exchange when you experience the “aftereffects” of Christmas. Some of the typical symptoms of the Christmas Hangover include sleeping children (worn out from playing with new toys), a crash-&-burn-feeling when the post-meal sugar high subsides, and the soothing sound of an empty house after everyone leaves.
All of this got me thinking though. Are these the kinds of “Hangovers” we should experience after Christmas? If our celebration is truly centered on the birth of Jesus, then our “aftereffects” might be a little different. I want to experience a much longer hangover – one which is motivated by the proper response to the incarnation – one that reflects the fact that Emmanuel “God with Us” is here! The incarnation should be incarnated in my life as well. I want to be changed by my Christmas interactions with Jesus. And I want those changes to last throughout the year – forever. I want a long “Christmas Hangover.”
Prayer: Lord, let me be “hungover” with an overflow of the love you gave to us at Christmas. Let me be “intoxicated” by peace and “under the influence” of Your Spirit. May the “aftereffects” of your incarnation be incarnated in my life as well. AMEN.
PS – I don’t drink and never want to experience a “hangover” as it is normally defined.
Christmas is the celebration of the “Withness” of God!! Jesus stepped out of heaven and off His throne to come to earth to be with us. (Philippians 2:5-8)
My friend Kris Lyle, who studies biblical languages, posted something recently about the word, with. He was researching with and discovered some interesting stuff about the way it was used in the Ancient Near East (ANE). Here’s what he wrote:
I’m quoting from the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, volume I, page 451; the author has just said that with doesn’t really occur in conjunction with people and God in the ANE. In other words, besides Israel, we don’t have much evidence that the surrounding nations thought of, spoke of or experienced their gods and goddesses in a way that they could say “God is with me,” as Israel does throughout their history. So here’s the quote:
“Even if additional examples are discovered, it is still remarkable that the formula of the presence of a deity with man is very rare in the ancient Near East, while it appears frequently in the OT, where it expresses a basic element in the Yahweh faith. Is it possible that the content of this formula expresses something typical (if not also equally “genuine”!) for the faith of Israel?”
I love it!!! The same God who we know as “Emmanuel” meaning “God with us,” had already revealed Himself to the ancient Israelites in a similar way. It was normal for them (Israel) to talk about God as with them, but all the other nations spoke of their gods differently – distant, impersonal. This scholar has accidentally hit upon the very thing that sets our faith apart. Our God is with us. He was withthe ancient Israelites, but He also sent His son, Jesus to be with us in human form and then sent the Holy Spirit to remain with us until His return. He has always been with us and will remain with us until the end of time. Christmas is a celebration of this withness. Emmanuel = “God with us”
“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20
The idea of Jesus becoming flesh is a pretty basic tenant of our faith. It’s sometimes called the incarnation, but I heard something the other day, that made me think of it a bit differently. What if the incarnation is God’s example to us? Duh. That’s probably what He meant all along, but I’m so stupid that this is a new thought for me. The Word became flesh – What about our words? Are they just words? or do they actually become flesh and get played out in our lives? Our my words incarnated into my life? What if all of them were? Some would not be good, but other. . . . wow! What if I could live the way I talk? Or even better – what if I lived to incarnate Jesus’ words? Could His words become fleshed out in my life? How would my life look differently? How cool would that be?
Prayer: Lord, help your “word” to become “flesh” in my life. Help me to flesh out Your Word and live it in an authentic way. May Your Word become flesh again as I live this life.