Today is the day after Christmas. All the preparation and excitement is past. How do you feel the day after? Is there an unfulfilled longing for more? Or are you satisfied, reflecting warmly on the past few days? Maybe you are just exhausted and glad to have a day after to recuperate. I am encouraged and looking forward to the New Year.

I could not have said that several days ago. I was feeling discouraged and disconnected. Something was wrong in my spirit and I felt very frustrated and confused. There were several situations and relationships that were bothering me that I could not quite name or identify. I was struggling to put my finger on what was the matter.

For me, and I believe for all of us, my life begins and ends with the condition of my spiritual life. But we live our life in relationship with others so they often become our focus. It is much easier and probably more obvious to see that something is wrong or frustrating in our relationships. And sometimes the problem is another person but more often the problem is with us. A great parable of Jesus captures this truth. He tells us to first take the log out of our eye before we focus on the spec we see in another’s eye. We must first deal with those issues in our own lives before we can help anyone else see the issues and struggles in their lives. And because we are focusing on someone else’s spec of a problem we miss our huge mess of a log. It is always good to remember to begin with what might be wrong with us before looking to see what might be wrong with someone else.

Leanne Payne, reminded me this Christmas that we were created in the image of God, and because we are image bearers we have “an inborn hunger for the transcendent” (the transcendent is something that is above , beyond and greater than us, in other words God). I believe this because I am satisfied “the day after” and I no longer feel disconnected. I was spiritually hungry and the “inborn holy craving” that image bearers possess has been satisfied this Christmas in true worship in the presence of Immanuel, God with us. And because I am better connected to God, I can be a better person to others, not demanding things from them that is impossible for them to give.

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