The day after Christmas is cold. Bitterly cold. And unseasonably cruel. It haunts you like an apparition that never comes.
It teases: Next year will be better.
It lies: If you had only gotten what you wanted.
The crumpled paper and candy wrappers litter the floor like confetti. The living room looks like a circus. If you're honest, it kind of was.
By mid-day, the house is clean and empty. Sterile, even. The tree, though still up, lacks its luster. Family has long since gone home, and we are left only with our trinkets.
The loneliness sets in.
The mixed emotions collide and cloud our vision. Was it the best day of the year, or the worst? Did we find the true spirit of Christmas and recapture child-like wonder? Or did we lose another piece of our innocence to the cynicism of adulthood?
We think back to the day that now seems so far away, so unapproachable. We sang, we danced, but still wished for more. We feasted and napped, but found no rest.
We waited and waited. And still, we waited more. For Christmas morning — when a child comes into the world and we become children again. But when it came in all its glory, it still felt like we were waiting.
Maybe we were.
Was this how the shepherds felt, after the angel songs ceased and they returned to their flocks? Was this the same let-down the magi experienced, when they began the long trek home and Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt?
Did they wonder, like I do: Was this it? All we had been waiting for? A baby in a manger? A gift card and a food hangover?
Every glory fades, and every coming goes.
There are no words to honor this, only tears. And maybe the hope that there is still more waiting to do.
What does the day after Christmas look like for you? Share in the comments.