Grace and Peace to you.
It may be startling news to anyone who lives at a mall, but Christmas is not over. It’s just begun. The secular world thinks Christmas runs from Thanksgiving to December 25, but it actually begins the 25th and goes for twelve days. Today is the third day. Three French hens.
Christians may object to the commercialization of Christmas, but we seldom do anything else with it ourselves, do we? I mean, my gosh, what are we supposed to do with the next eleven days, after we’ve pretty much blown our wad on the first one?
We use the twelve days to practice a faith of the Incarnation. Practice beholding the mystery that God’s Word of love is made flesh among us, in Jesus of Nazareth and in one another. Practice giving thanks that God does not just watch us, but accompanies us, lives within us. Practice looking for God.
Practice sustaining the love and peace you felt on Christmas Eve for another twelve days. Practice seeing the light in people’s faces as if they’re sitting in a beautiful sanctuary singing songs, with a candle in their hand. Practice seeing the divine child within each of us. Practice sensing that this particular time, this present moment is holy.
Practice the anticipation of knowing that you are about to receive gifts. Practice the joy of seeing others receive your gifts. Practice generosity. Practice getting a kick out of making a special effort for someone. Practice noticing the poor, lonely and hungry more than usual, and reaching out to them with joy rather than obligation. Practice treating people with blessing. Practice thinking of all humanity as family.
Practice attending to the mystery that God is present in poor and ordinary things and people. Practice awe and reverence. Practice hope, joy, peace and love. Faith is not an accident, a product of a certain event or season. It’s a choice. It’s a practice. Keep it going. If you can do it for one night, you can do it for twelve days; and if for twelve days, you can do it for eternal life.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes