I admit, I’m one of those people who is relieved when the holiday music, holiday specials, and especially holiday advertisements disappear as if by magic on midnight of December 25th. It makes me feel like I can finally celebrate Christmas, quietly and with due reverence. I’m so happy to attend services where Christmas carols will be sung while much of the rest of the world has moved on to the New Year.
Please, don’t notice me here celebrating Christmas, world. The pressure you put on me up until every last piece of You Must Have This was bought and wrapped and opened was way too much. I’m grateful for the chance to let Christmas sink in slowly now that the obligations I feel you require have been met, more or less. And if they haven't been met, well, I was never going to anyway.
And so I am grateful to you, church, for taking the time to slow down and savor Christmas beyond the lights and exaltation of December 24th, the family hope and let-downs of Christmas day. I am grateful to you for saying, “Let’s think about this a while; let’s ponder the implications and how this applies to our lives.” I’m grateful to you for saying the season before was only a time of preparation (although “only” is unfair, I know), and that the season we now celebrate goes beyond the baby Jesus’ birth to the greater wonder of God living among us even still.
And as I sit and ponder Christmas, I wonder how we can apply this same methodology of preparation, celebration, and reflection elsewhere in the church. Confirmation, of course, is never far from my mind. But what about baptism? What about retirement? What about getting married? What if we started to build a season of reflection into the system so that preparation, celebration, season of reflection was a natural order for things? What if we created opportunities for people to reflect on what just happened right when everyone else seems to have moved on? What if we allowed people to savor their experiences, and valued reflection as well as preparation? I wonder what that would do.
A very merry Christmas season to you. Come, let us adore him.