Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's STILL Christmas??

At church this week, my pastor began his sermon by talking about how short Christmas really is... While we have a long Advent season and a lengthy Lent season, the days of Christmas, the 12 days, are really awfully short. As he continued, he told our congregation that the 12 days of Christmas are actually the days following December 25th. This came as a complete surprise to me. How about you?

As I sat in church on Sunday, in my head I was already making plans for how and when we would pack away the Christmas paraphernalia. With the weather so cold in Chicago, the outdoor decorations will need to stay put for now, but I am so eager for the neat, open look to return to my home. I want my furniture put back in place, dying trees to be retired outdoors and the tidiness I find comforting to return. I love the Christmas holiday... the celebrations, the focus on Christ, the food, the wonder... I love it all... but it is really taking up an awful lot of space in my life.

And yet... today is day 11. Pipers Piping. Ladies dancing. Maids-a-milking. It is all still going on. It makes me stop and think a bit... should THE most important story I will ever hear or tell be something I am eager to move on from? As I seek the comfort of the tidy and predictable, where do I set the story of God who embodied humanity and deity in one small babe? Where was comfort to be found for a loving Father who so desperately wanted to be with us that He gave up all that mattered most to make us a way? Is there predictability in that?

There are pine needles on my wood floors and a Nativity set on my bookshelf. There are candles on tables and wreaths on doors and bits of wrapping paper beneath the couch. It may be time to clean but how dare I even move to set it all aside. The story of the birth of Christ is not, in any way, seasonal. It is not a decoration or a trinket or even just the "reason for the season". This story is hope. This story is truth. This story is where faith begins and blossoms and finds it feet. I am loved. You are loved. We have a God who so deeply adored us that He sought a way to set aside comfort and in His sacrifice, offer us joy.

My house may need a good cleaning. The time may have come to set some things aside. But not this story. Not this truth. Maybe the discomfort my decorations cause me today is a good thing... a good reminder. It is not over, my friends. Not at all. He loved us then and loves us now and I don't want to accidentally set that aside.

Blessings on your day.

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