02 January 2008

Christmas time has come and gone

I hope you all were able to enjoy Christmas and the wonderful season. This year seemed to be one of the more frantic and hectic Christmas seasons for me than in years past which I really don't understand. I didn't do my Christmas party in hopes of lessening the stress and increasing the enjoyment of the season; I hardly went shopping (much to my brother's chagrin since he got mostly "recycled" and gag gifts) and yet the season has come and gone before I had a chance to enjoy it. I am still playing Christmas music in an attempt to hold on to the season. But this weekend I put away all my Christmas decorations and felt such a relief to have my house less 'cluttered.' Last Thursday seemed to be the official "lights off" day but I must have missed the memo. I had stopped by my parents to take in the mail (they were out of town) and left their porch Christmas lights on inadvertently. I thought about going back and turning them off since they'd be on all night but decided to leave them on for a festive look. As I was driving home I realized that very few homes had their lights on anymore. For some reason everyone along my route decided Wednesday night was that last night to have Christmas lights on. Suddenly the world is looking very drab. I started the habit of reading through the birth narratives in the Gospels on Christmas morning and this Christmas I was struck with the idea of reveling. We place so much emphasis on the expectation and anticipation of Christmas but we do not linger and savor the miracle after Christmas. Mary and Joseph were anticipating the arrival of the baby, the angles knew what were coming but no one else did. It wasn't until after the birth that the shepherds came and saw the wonderful baby, and it was well after the birth that the three wise men arrived to worship. The Twelve days of Christmas, also called "Christmastide," officially ended this weekend on January 6th with Epiphany day. Yet I don't know of a single church in the area that celebrates this time of the church calendar which is sad, it is a perfect chance to soak in the reality of Christmas and celebrate that Christ has come as a man so that we may know God. Instead in our consumer driven culture as soon as Christmas is over it is all about the sales, then New Years, and now Valentine's day - yes the stores are already hocking their heart themed wares. I can't help but feel we are missing something, missing the sacred in this season, missing the opportunity to be still and know that He is God. I don't know what the solution is, but I know I am looking for a way for Christmas to be different next year, more sacred, if you have any suggestion shoot them my way!

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