The After Christmas Blues
By Kimberly Curtin
Opened boxes of all shapes and sizes laid silently under an umbrella of glittering lights, while remnants of colorful paper were scattered around as a reminder of the brief moment of excitement that had just taken place.
All of the gifts were opened and once again with a heavy sigh of sadness, Lilly sat and pondered over what had just happened. Slowly and gently she gathered her gifts and neatly piled them in a corner of the room.
Picking up her favorite Rebekka Sulk-n-Poubt doll, she whispered. "I don't get it, Rebekka. I just don't get it." Then she held Rebekka closely and sat staring at the beautiful colors dancing on the Christmas tree.
"I waited all year." She said with a sigh. "Hoping and waiting. Waiting and hoping." Hear eyes began to water. "I really thought this would be the year, Rebekka." Lilly continued as though her doll would somehow offer a solution.
Milling about the room, picking up remnants of wrapping paper, Mama caught a glimpse of Lilly as she used the doll's dress to wipe a tear from her eye. She casually bent down closer to Lilly, as though picking up more trash, only to confirm her suspicions of Lilly´s sadness.
"What a bummer..." Lilly moaned.
"Why Lilly," Mama said softly, "What could possibly be wrong? Didn't you get what you wanted for Christmas?"
"Well, yes...," she started.
"Good." Mama smiled and started to straighten back up, shoving another handful of paper into her already overstuffed trash bag.
"...and, no..." Lilly added.
"No?" Mama repeat with concern.
"I don't know Mama." Lilly sniffed. "I just don't get it."
"Get what dear?" She questioned as she struggled to tie the now overflowing bag of wrap.
"Well, gee Mama," Lilly began with childish reasoning, "If I knew what it was I didn't get then I probably would have already gotten it. Right?"
Sitting on the fattened bag, Mama was now trying use her weight to compact the trash. "Now I'm really confused." She replied. "Did you or did you not get all of the gifts you wanted?"
"Well, yes, I think..." Lilly thought carefully as she spoke.
"Good, good. I'm glad to hear that." Mama said with a sigh of relief, her words sounding raspy, as she bounced up and down; certain that the extra ten pounds she had gained this holiday season would come in handy right now.
"Actually, no." Lilly blurted. "Not really."
Mama thought for a moment and paused. Steadying her weight in the middle of the bag she realized that they must be talking about two entirely different things. "Let's try this again Lilly." She started. "Are you happy with the clothes and toys you received?"
"Oh yes Mama!" She smiled. "They're great."
"Are you sure now?" Mama hesitated waiting for Lilly to change her mind again.
"Oh, yes, I'm quite sure." She said confidently.
"Well, did we forget something? Is something missing that you really wanted?" Mama probed, still wobbling atop the slippery plastic bag of bows and wrap.
Lilly thought and thought. "Is something missing?" The question rolled over and over in her mind. "Is something missing?" Then suddenly out of nowhere came a look of enlightenment across Lilly's face. "That's it!" She exclaimed. "Something's missing."
Suddenly in her moment of excitement Mama lost her balance and rolled backwards off the bag and onto the floor. Colorful scraps of paper and bows leaped out of the bag like a well executed plan of escape; and Lilly and Mama shared a moment of laughter together.
With an occasional giggle, Lilly helped Mama pick up the mess on the floor. Mama smoothed out her dress and sat on the floor next to Lilly this time. "OK," Mama said, gaining her composure, "Now tell me Lilly, what's missing?"
"Mama," Lilly said with a bit of a whine in her voice, "If I knew what was missing then it wouldn't be lost. Right?"
"Hmmm," Mama thought to herself, "I'm going to have to try a different approach."
"When did you first realize you were missing something?" She asked anxiously.
"Well," Lilly began, "I got up this morning and was all excited about it being Christmas day. Everyone else was excited too. Next we ate a huge breakfast. It was great. Then we opened our gifts and had a great time. Everyone was happy and laughing. It was wonderful."
"Yes, yes, then what?" The suspense was driving Mama bonkers.
"Well, that was it." Lilly's whole countenance changed with a frown. "After the last gift was opened it was over..."
"What was over Lilly?" Mama interrupted.
"Christmas!" Lilly sighed and her eyes began to well up with tears. "Every year it's the same old thing. I wait and wait for it to come and then boom, just like that - when the last gift is opened - it's over. No more presents. No more excitement. No more joy. It all just disappears."
"Ah ha!" Mama squealed with excitement. "Now I get it! It took me a while to figure out, but now I understand what's missing."
"You do?" Lilly looked up at Mama and once again used Rebecca's dress to wipe away a tear.
"Sure I do," Mama said with a smile. "It's not gone, Lilly."
"It's not?" She asked.
"No dear, quite the contrary," Mama began to explain. "It's here to stay."
"Huh?" She puzzled. "Now I'm really confused."
"That feeling you're talking about is of Love, Peace, and Joy, right?" Mama asked.
"Yeah!" Lilly shouted with excitement "That's it Mama! That's it. I didn't know what to call it, but I know that's it."
"Well, Lilly, let me explain." Mama continued. "First of all the Holy Spirit is a He and not an it. He is quite real, Lilly, not just a feeling. He gives joy, love and peace to those who believe in Jesus as their savior."
"Wow!" Lilly whispered in awe. "I had no idea."
"And," Mama continued excitedly, "He's not only here during the celebration of Jesus' birthday, Christmas day, but He dwells inside of those who believe. His joy, peace, and love stay with us everyday, all year long."
Mama got up and grabbed the overstuffed bag and once again struggled to conquer it. "That's it!" She exclaimed as she tied it down. "I finally got it!"
"Me too," Lilly's said aloud, her face glowing with delight. "Me too." She finally understood the true "feeling" of Christmas.
With that they both embraced and laughed together. The problem was solved. With Jesus in your heart everyday feels like Christmas.