CHRISTMAS IS OVER
by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 47 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Blue Denim and Lace)
The Christmas season is now over. The holidays from school have ended. We are sitting around the table for breakfast on the day the children are returning to school. I look over and see tears swelling in the eyes of my youngest daughter.
"What is wrong, sweetheart?" I asked.
"I don't want to go back to school." She replies.
Then I remember how I felt on the same day of the year. I felt the same way at bedtime on Christmas night and in the closing moments of my birthday.
What causes such a feeling in the life of a child, or for that matter, in the life of an adult? Who among us has not felt the loneliness and melancholy of hating to see a delightful experience end? End they must, as all delightful experiences must in this life.
Because of this it is best that we understand our emotions at such occasions. Why this sad feeling? Something has died. Death is an absence of life, and with the passing of each day another day has died. It will never come again. The thrill of going to be d Christmas Eve night, the beauty of the tree Christmas morning, the opening of the presents, the playing with the toys, the delicious and beautiful Christmas dinner have now joined all of the other days and experiences of the past. These particular ones will never come again.
Of course, the sadness comes from looking back, Yesterday is always dead; tomorrow is alive. Looking backward may bring sadness, but looking forward will bring gladness. One of the secrets of the Christian life is looking forward to tomorrow. Remember that on the day before yesterday, yesterday was tomorrow, and yesterday, today was tomorrow. As long as there is a tomorrow with its hopes, there can be a happy today.
How can my child (and her father) overcome such a feeling of melancholy?
1. Learn the art of enjoying today. It is wonderful to look forward to tomorrow; it is more wonderful to enjoy tomorrow on the morrow. One must work hard in filling yesterday's expectations for today. In so doing, not only does it enhance the joy of today and increase the joy of yesterday, but it brightens the prospects for joy tomorrow. Far too many of us have never know to enjoy today up to yesterday's predictions. In other words, let us be happy while having happiness. It is not enough to look forward to the happiness we are going to have tomorrow nor to look backward to the happiness we had yesterday. We must recognize the happiness we are having today. Most of us look forward to having friends before we get them, weep because of their loss after we have had them, but fail to enjoy their friendship while we have them. How many ladies look forward twenty years to becoming a mother and look backward for forty years or more to having been active in fulfilling the duties of a mother and yet complained during the twenty years in which they were that for which they had looked forward and now to which they look backward. Let us be careful to let the day fulfill the expectations of yesterday, and our enjoyment of today will be as much today as it will be in tomorrow's memories.
2. Plan joy in giving and not receiving. If one's Christmas is receiving, he can only have Christmas when someone decides to give to him. If one's Christmas is in giving, then every day can be a Christmas for him. Our wills cannot determine how much we receive nor how often we can receive. They can, however, determine how often we can give. If Christmas to us is unwrapping, then it can only come periodically. If it is wrapping, it can come daily. Let us look forward to being the giver and not the receiver. Then on the evening of Christmas we an still look forward to Christmas tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
3. Raise the floor of our lives and not the roof. One's happiness depends not on the height of his heights but the height of his depths. How high are you on your lowest day? How high you are on your lowest day determines your happiness, not how high you are on your highest day. How happy are you on March 24? July 18? October 3? When you lowest days become happier days, then the steps down from Christmas will not be such a big one. Hence, let us not stress so much the raising of the roof as the raising of the floor.
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“I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion,
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