Friday, December 27, 2013

It's the Third Day of Christmas...Isn't It?




The third day of Christmas...my tree graces the living room window
and my collection of Santas stand sentinel on the mantle piece.
From the CD player come the strains of my favorite Christmas
music and in the dining room, the table wears its Christmas finery.
In my house on my street, it is indeed the season of Christmas-
and will be for the full twelve days, until the Feast of the Epiphany
on January 6th.

But all around me in this hustle-bustle world of ours, with its
"let's move on to the next thing" mentality, the Christmas music
has ceased its playing...once-lovely evergreen trees are already
at the curb waiting for pick-up...and stores are clearing their
shelves in anticipation of filling them with the trappings of
Valentines Day.

Makes me more than a little sad, all of this rush to have things
over and done. The build-up begins earlier and earlier each year,
it seems, with Christmas decorations in the stores by Halloween,
with Christmas carols playing before Thanksgiving. Perhaps this
over-saturation is why people seem so ready for it all to be OVER.

But the out-of-step Church...at least the Church that adheres to
the liturgical calendar...has only been in the Christmas season
since Christmas Eve. There are nine more days to go...two more
Sundays of Christmas, when we'll be singing carols and hearing
scripture readings about the holy event, celebrating the miracle
and mystery of the Incarnation, affirming God's presence firmly
amidst and within us all...which is really what Christmas is all
about anyway, isn't it? Forget Santa and decorations and all
the presents. The whole reason for the season- as the saying
goes- is that it is the commemoration of, the celebration of, the
reminder of God's loving presence being IN this old world.

Of course, this truth isn't limited to one season of the year- or
it shouldn't be. Every day, our awakening is a reminder of the
reality of that holy loving Presence here and now...a clarion
call that we are to LIVE that love...to reach out to one another,
embodying the loving Presence of the Divine One which dwells
within each one of us...a God not far off somewhere but here...
now...within...without...around...or in the familiar language of
the liturgy, in, with, and under.

Now, I confess that I love the external trappings of this lovely
season...love the decorations and the tree...love the music
and the special foods...love the greetings from friends and
the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. I love the fact that it is
a time of gathering the family to spend precious time together.
And I will be very sad to put it all away, carefully wrapped in
tissue paper, to be brought out next year. But I hope and pray
that what remains will be that sharing of love...the unexplainable
mystery of the Divine incarnated in you and in me...the many
daily opportunities to BE that love...to reach out and affirm our
oneness...to work together for justice and peace so that all
people- ALL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE- may live fully and hopefully.
That is my Christmas prayer on this third day of Christmas...
and for all of the days to come...that I may hold the wondrous,
miraculous truth in my heart and live it in my life- that God
is LOVE and God is HERE...at this moment...and for all time to
come.

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