We celebrate the birth of Jesus, and then we return to the office, to school, to the things we normally do. Do you remember that Christmas was just a few weeks ago? (Or are you still thinking about when you’ll take down your decorations?) The shepherds of Bethlehem returned to their fields. God had sent them to find the baby Jesus in a manger. They marveled at God and knew they’d been blessed to... see the Messiah’s arrival. And then they returned to their flocks. They returned with an energized faith, glorifying and praising God. But, still, they returned to their routine. God takes us to the mountaintop where he shows us great miracles and wonders, but he doesn’t leave us there. It is in the fields and among the flocks that our faith grows, nurtured in the soil of the day-to-day, the mundane. This is where we die to Christ, allowing his life to blossom within us (Galatians 2:20). You may have returned to your routine, but God wants you to know this: * The things we truly believe emerge day-to-day. It’s the conflicts over who makes the coffee, who cleans up the mess, who gets to go home early, or who gets the biggest piece of pie that test whether it is Christ who lives in us or if we’re still saying, “No, it is I who live.” * God wants you to succeed, and he is going to stay with you to help you get it right. God is on your side. This means God’s intent is not to catch you doing something wrong; his intent is to reveal where you still need to yield to the Jesus-life growing in you. * You can still be merry! Don’t we always point out how friendly, cordial, loving, and giving people are during the Christmas season, and then lament the fact that they aren’t like that during the rest of the year? It may be January, but you can still be friendly, cordial, loving, and giving right now. It is a choice! Merry Christmas and a Happy Return to Routine.