Unboxing Day

Today is called Boxing Day in the British Commonwealth. Celebrated on December 26th every year, it’s not a day for watching UFC fights or even WWE, but a day when the Christmas decorations are packed away for the year. Though I am American, and we as a former British colony have our freedom, I celebrate Boxing Day or at least begin the process. I’m kind of an Anglophile. If I wanted to observe the Ecclesiastical Church calendar, I would keep them on display for twelve days until Epiphany. Not me. I want those Christmas reminders back in their totes and stored safely away down in the basement. Where they should be! As a single man I only bring them out for family and their children who love seeing my Nutcracker collection and the oddly small Star Wars tree with the Nativity and wooden train underneath.

Stuffing Christmas back into a box is so human. It goes right along with our feelings, emotions, and all those memories of times past when we were let down as children, or even as older children. Depression kicks into overdrive this time of year more than any other time of the calendar. A good reason to check in and reach out to those who suffer with depression and anxiety. Self-termination is the number one killer from now until the New Years. Those on meds are not immune. As one who carries this mental illness, I pray that our Lord stays close to us.

What prompts this stuffing effect so many practices? Could other family members be blamed? It must be that aunt who wags her finger in your face asking why you haven’t met a good girl. There must be something wrong with you, right? Yes, you are right. Sin manifests into many facets in our life. It intertwines itself into our brain so that we can only see or hear what is right in front of our face. Shutting out all other intrusive conversations and twinkling distractions. Focusing on that one interaction worms through our conscience and memory until it obsessively becomes our reality. Instead of choosing to keep our gaze on our Lord and the beauty of his uncondemning face, we self-focus by looking into that mirror our family, or that one person, unknowingly placed into our hands.

Paul tells us in Philippians 1:27, “Ony let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.” Christ is not surprised when we choose the world’s view of memories, emotions, and feelings. Yet, he wants us to know that our place in him is one of a steadfast spirit striving for our faith by continually trusting in him through the times of family, and even Christmas. No matter how good or even bad they might have become.

This year unbox while boxing. Allow the Lord to heal your unboxed emotions, your traumatic memories, and even those hurt feelings that you have carried longer than any one person should. You might just find yourself creating new memories filled with how Christ is healing you and what he is doing in those around you. Cast all you care on him! At Christmastime and in the New Year.

Grace and peace,


*Scripture from ESV translation, Crossway Publishers, 2001

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