Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The 12 Days of Christmas you can celebrate Christmas. Actually you can keep on celebrating until January 6 as part of the 12 Days of Christmas. That's where that song came from. You know the one...4 Mockingbirds, 3 French hens, 2 Turtle Doves...and a partridge in a pear tree...and all those other gifts like maids a milking, and Lords a leaping. I mean the one who received these gifts must have had a big place to hold all those trees and people and things. But I must confess that I like the imagery of celebration and gift giving that are contained in the song. It is a good reminder that Christmas is not over just because December 25 is now history and many are exhausted from all the work of preparing for just that one day. Christmas...the birth of celebrated until Epiphany (January 6) which celebrates the coming of the Wisemen to worship the new born Christ-child. It also celebrates the coming of Jesus not just for a single nation or ethnic group, but for all who would receive him. Epiphany is a reminder that we are called to open our hearts and lives to all in need just as God has opened his heart to us. These 12 days from December 25 to January 6 are a reminder of all this. other thing...if you still haven't finished mailing out those Christmas cards or writing that Christmas newsletter it isn't too have until January 6. After that...well...the truth is it is never too late to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Back to front...

One of the difficulties facing Christians, and all people for that matter, is that we no longer celebrate Advent. We are simply too busy getting ready for and celebrating Christmas. Advent was originally a time for reflection...a rethinking...a renewing...that would then result in an enriching of faith as the celebrations of the Christ-child's birth began on Christmas Eve and continued during the Twelve Days of Christmas leading up to Epiphany and the coming of the Wisemen. Somehow we have it all backwards. Advent is chocked full of Christmas shopping, Christmas cards, Christmas parties and celebrations of all sorts that it becomes almost a test of endurance. By the time Christmas does arrive we are exhausted and greet the birth of Jesus with a truly heart-felt 'Thank God (that's over for another year)' and then collapse in a heap to reflect on how we don't want to go through that again and how we will do things differently next Christmas etc etc etc. Maybe we have got it all back to front.