Were the Magi the first disappointed Christmas gift givers?
At the end of the day, after they had left their very expensive gifts, when they were heading home, do you suppose one of them turned and said, “You know, after the long journey, after all the preparation, after all the gift wrapping, I’m kind of bummed that it is already over?”
I’m guessing that the answer is no. I’m guessing they left more elated than they arrived. I figure that they knew the purpose of their gifts – to honor a baby king.
At the end of this day in DC, however, I’m a bit disappointed. It is all over. It is easy to talk about carrying the spirit of Christmas throughout the year but it is so hard to do. It is so easy at Christmas.
Today the world felt different. In our little part of the world it was quieter. People were staying home. On an afternoon walk everyone offered a “Merry Christmas”. Cars seemed to meander. No one sent emails. It was easier to be still and know that He is God.
Thus the sadness tonight. Tomorrow it will be easy to look around the world and think that today never happened. And the day after tomorrow it will be even harder to remember that Christmas had been here.
Perhaps the secret is to do as the Magi did – to leave the gifts behind and just marvel at what they witnessed… the baby, the miraculous signs, the quiet wonder amidst barnyard animals.
I love the way Anne Rice framed it is in Christ Our Lord: Out of Egypt. In that novel about Jesus’ childhood, she recounted the story of his birth and portrayed the lack of space at any “inn” as being part of God’s providence. It was, she wrote, a cold, cold night in Bethlehem, the holy family was the only warm family because God had given them the beasts to warm them.
Maybe that is one of the things that caused the Magi to marvel…