April 13 Devotional
Does anyone else out there struggle post holidays? Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and we are dealing with a unique situation this year as we celebrated Easter. It could be very easy to have spent the last couple of weeks looking forward to this past weekend where our focus is placed completely on the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins and His resurrection from the dead that sealed that victory and ensured eternal life for those who believe. I hope and trust that you celebrated wherever you are at, remembering and honoring Jesus for the love He showed us in that act of sacrifice and power. But today is Monday, the day after Easter. We may have looked ahead to Easter and now that it has passed, there is a bit of a sluggishness today. I want to give you just a few words of encouragement this morning.
Matthew West wrote a song that appears on his Christmas album called “Day After Christmas.” It is a song about this very idea of the post-holiday malaise only in relation to Christmas as opposed to Easter. We can still take the words of this song and apply them to this situation in the same manner as West applies them to Christmas. Here is what the song says,
“Here comes the letdown, Christmas is over
Here comes the meltdown, there goes the cheer
But before we have a breakdown, let us remember
The light of the world is still here.
Happy day after Christmas
Merry rest of the year
Even when Christmas is over
The light of the world is still here”
This is such an interesting idea. I know that I normally struggle a bit that week after Christmas. I spent so long looking forward to what is my personal favorite time of the year and then it is over and done with. The decorations get taken down, the feel of the days change, and then it is back to the normal grind of a new year. Easter feels very similar in a way. The commercialism and overall feel of the holiday is very different, but being in ministry, Easter is one of the biggest days of the year. This year it felt very different due to the circumstances we face, but at the same time, it felt more personal this year, more heartfelt almost. As if the stripping away of any pomp and circumstance left us with just the meaning and purpose of the day in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Now it is the day after, and we each have a choice. Are we going to allow the joy of the resurrection and Jesus’ victory over sin and death to fade from our memory simply because life isn’t easy right now? Or do we choose to carry that joy with us, a joy that can never be taken from us, can never spoil or fade, because Jesus’ victory is never lessened no matter how much time goes by or how much life changes. Will you choose today to embrace that victory and let the joy carry you through your day and week? Or will you let it fade because Easter is over? Psalm 147 puts it this way
“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth;
He makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.”
We should praise and sing thanksgiving to the Lord at all times, not just on Easter. Easter may focus us on the victory of the resurrection, but there is always something to praise Him for as the psalmist points out here. And I love the end of this passage. He is not swayed by circumstances, He is not affected or influenced by political strength or power. God takes pleasure in where our hearts are at! Do you find yourself hoping in His steadfast love today? You should, we just spent an entire weekend focusing on the fruit of that steadfast love. And the result? Forgiveness of sins, a restored relationship with God, and ultimately eternal life, all because of Jesus’ victory over the grave! This is something that shouldn’t fade a day later, or even a week or a month or a year. The victory is eternal, and so is the joy that results from the victory!
I love the last verse of West’s song.
“So take down the stockings, take back the sweaters
Take down the lights and the star and the tree
But don’t let the world take your joy after Christmas
Take joy to the world and just sing”
We need to have this same attitude today. The joy of the resurrection doesn’t change or fade. So just because Easter is over, we still need to take heart the command that Jesus issued the disciples in Luke 24 on the day of His resurrection. “and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. You are my witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:47-48 We need to allow our joy to increase today, not decrease. What do we do the day after Easter? Take joy to the world and sing of Jesus victory and the gift He freely offers us.