Hold onto Christmas
My little living room is awash in nativity scenes. Just a five years ago my parents gave me my first one. Now, I have seven. I got two new ones last year alone: in Haiti and in Bethlehem. Each year, it's a joy to rediscover them and prepare for Christmas.
This weekend, they will finally come down. I will pack the Marys and shepherds and donkeys back in their boxes to wait in the basement another 11 months until they take their places center stage again.
This year, I’m toying with leaving out one Jesus when I put the rest away. When I see him, it would serve as a reminder during the gloomy months of January and February that God’s promises came true. God is with us. It would remind me to live a Christmas life all year around.
What is a Christmas life? It’s a life that trusts God can come into the bleakest of situations and transform them. It’s a life that gives generously toward others in love. It’s a life that notices the variety of people who bowed down to worship the baby Jesus and tries to build a community to do the same. It’s a life that recognizes the miracle of God-with-us every day of the year.
The theologian Howard Thurman wrote this beautiful poem called The Work of Christmas:
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
Whenever we do something to remind others (or ourselves) that God’s love is real and life-changing - even if it’s in July - it's as if we sing a Christmas carol. “Joy to the world, the lord is come!”
Blessings on your year-round Christmas.
Be at Peace,