It’s Still Christmas

Back to Work

Today’s the day we get back to the grind. While for many today is the observed day to celebrate the New Year, in our house we’re getting back to work. Gwynne is heading to the office after a long vacation, and I’m back to chasing Micah around while trying to get work done both for church and Joe Watkins Design. Family have all headed home, the plans have all been executed, and while our lights are still up – they seem not to be a more unwelcome reminder of their ever shortening shelf life, than a harbinger of the celebration to come.

Christmas is waning, but that’s not to say it’s over.

A Season and Not a Day

This Advent, we found an online, daily devotional made available by Creighton University that became our morning devotional reading as Gwynne and I prepared for Christmas. While we were far from successful in our goal to spend each morning walking through the series of prayers and readings, it did set a unique tone for Advent and helped prepare us for the coming of Christmas in a special way.

What struck me was the opening paragraphs of the Christmas page, where the readings for the two weeks of Christmas could be found:

Christmas is not the last day of Advent. It is a real season of the Church year. We usually miss it because the consumer society that some of us live in has nothing to offer us, except for days to return gifts. Too often, within days after Christmas day, the decorations are down and it is over.

This year, let’s try to really celebrate Christmas and the days that follow. Let’s enter a new Season, which has its own spirit and desires and graces.

Special Feasts begin the season and we continue the story, so that we enter more deeply into the story of Jesus’ coming to be one with our life, but also that we might enter more deeply into how Jesus comes this year to bless each of us.

The Christmas letdown always seems to weigh heavily on our celebration, especially once New Year’s Eve comes the following week and lives begin to go back to normal. The power of the liturgical calendar, something I often wish the Church of God followed more strictly, comes in times like these. When the surrounding culture is offering a particular rhythm for our lives, we have the opportunity to enter into a different pattern. For the church, our year began, not on January 1, but on November 27, 2011 – the first Sunday of Advent, and the season of Christmas is not over simply because the sales have all ended and the stores have taken down their decorations.

No, there is something holy, powerful, life-giving, about the overlap that this week gives. The second week of Christmas is upon us and while we return to the tasks that demand our attention and the office hours that guide our day, now is the time that we can carry with us the joy and the mystery that is the birth of Jesus Messiah, our Savior and Lord. Now is the time to sing a new song of hope and joy into the world at the coming of Christmas. May we celebrate by living faithfully and continuing the march onward to Epiphany.

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