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Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders. His name? His name we’ll know in many ways— He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6, The Voice

The day was the same when each of my children were born.

Friends and family came. And they waited expectantly. They paced. They lined the hallways. They giggled as they talked among themselves about what our babies would look like. Would they have their daddy’s long toes? Their momma’s heart-shaped lips? Would they have a head full of hair, and oh, what color would it be?

My husband and I (nervously) waited, too. We watched as nurses came in and out of our hospital room. We answered their questions and gave our consent. I bravely endured the pokes of needles while my husband endured my squeezing his hand until it turned blue. We listened to the beating of our baby’s heart and the flutterings of that little one who would soon be in our arms. And we talked among ourselves. We whispered I love you’s and are you ready(?) and this is really happening(!).

And then the moment came. The moment everyone had come to see and celebrate, ooh and ahh over. The wonderful, amazing, I-could-kiss-his-feet-for-helping-me-birth-this-child doctor held up that blinking, wide-eyed, little human and said, “It’s a girl,” in December of 1999. And, “it’s a boy,” in October of 2002. And, in May of 2007, we heard those familiar words again, “It’s a girl.”

Friends and family filed into our room, surrounded the hospital bed, and passed around each of our babies. They unwrapped the swaddled blankets and counted fingers and toes. They peaked under those tiny hats to see what color hair lay beneath. They breathed in that ever so pleasant newborn smell and cradled the fragile frame of our babies in their arms, holding them safe as they kissed cheeks and whispered I love you’s in their ears.

Twenty-four hours passed, and fewer friends and family came. Then forty-eight hours, and even fewer came. Seventy-two hours passed, and together, my husband and I, headed home with our bundle of joy. And then life returned to “normal” and our friends and family didn’t visit anymore. They didn’t come to unwrap the swaddled blankets. They didn’t come to see and continue celebrating the arrival of our babies.

The anticipation of our baby’s arrival had been satisfied.

Life was just life.

And everyone moved on from the wonder and amazement of it all.

*************

Yesterday was Christmas.

For weeks, I’ve anticipated this day. I’ve planned. I’ve shopped. I’ve wrapped presents.  We’ve baked goodies, drank hot chocolate, and moved around that crazy Elf of the Shelf every single night. We’ve read the Christmas story and counted down the days of Advent. We’ve served and loved on and shared the Hope of the season with others. We’ve reflected on the past year with abundant thanks for all God has done. We’ve listened to Christmas music since before Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve we worshipped together with the body of Christ.

I truly believe our hearts, mind, and intentions have been focused on Jesus and His birth and its meaning for us all.

We celebrated yesterday, we gave gifts, and we were thankful.

But, I fear.

I fear that what we anticipated leading up to December 25th will be satisfied on that day.

I fear that life will just be life and we’ll go back to our normal.

I fear that the wonder and amazement of the birth of our Liberating King will be lost in the days after THE day.

So tonight, as I sit looking around at the aftermath of Christmas day—at the Christmas lights twinkling on the tree and the stockings hung now empty, as I see my kids enjoying their gifts and laughing with each other, and as I think back over the day that we’ve spent together as a family—I’m crying out to God and pouring out my heart to Him.

Because, I don’t want to forget!

I don’t want to wait until next Thanksgiving to begin anticipating the birth of my Savior and what that means for me.

I don’t want to be satisfied with celebrating Jesus’ birth only on Christmas day.

I want the wonder and amazement of Jesus’ coming to earth—the Word made flesh to dwell among us—to consume me every.single.day.

I want to keep in the forefront of my mind that His birth means my rebirth.

That His coming enables me to go and do and be everything He desires me to be.

I want all my days to be days that I celebrate and rejoice and give thanks. I don’t want there to ever be the day(s) after!

Will you join me in praying that none of us live in the day(s) after but always in the day that celebrates the birth of the One who is our hope?