The day of fulfillment has arrived. The hopes and promises of God are fulfilled in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. God’s amazing risk of love has been set in motion. And, it’s not over yet!
But Christmas is not just a day, it is a season in the life of the church in the lives of Christians. We celebrate Christmas with twelve days of Christmas ending this Friday, January 6th, Epiphany. Wise men of the East recognize that Jesus is the Son of God, the King of the Jews. These were titles that were used by the Empire, the Son of God for Caesar Augustus and the King of the Jews for King Herod, but they more rightly belonged to Jesus.
What does our Empire today say about God coming into the world?
Well, it is good for business. Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated by people of all faiths but especially by business owners because for many businesses, Christmas buying is what puts them into the black for the year. It pays the bills and allows them to be in business yet another year.
It has bothered me for years now that we are so much into anticipating the next big thing that we push Christmas behind us and are tired of it by the time December 26th comes. Christmas becomes a time of mounds of paper and tired people. So many say they are so glad to have it over and get things back to normal. For me, however, the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day is not normal, but is a holy time, my favorite time of year, a time when all is quiet and peaceful. It is a time much like the hymn Silent Night evokes. I usually spend it reading and doing puzzles, enjoying family, hot chocolate and tea and Christmas cookies. I rest in the joy and peace of the season, thankful for the gifts that God has given. Even I have trouble stretching the celebration through to the sixth of January, but perhaps I should try. Perhaps it is a matter of Christian identity or a counter cultural movement.
Thanks to my colleague, Linda Whitworth Reed, through her Facebook post, I have found another Christian who is also concerned about the lack of understanding of the Christian calendar and envisions a way for us to fight against the pull of the Empire by celebrating time in a way separate from our culture so that we can hear messages of hope and love more clearly. I hope you enjoy this thoughtful post as much as I did. In stores, I already see the red and white of Valentine’s Day. Time moves by quickly but perhaps does not need to skip from Christmas to Valentine’s Day just yet. Read on.