Having consulted with those in the know (the newspaper comic strips), Christmas is relegated to a single day, if not just a couple hours in the early morning of the 25th of December. Comments like: ‘Christmas 2022 is done.’ ‘Glad Christmas is over.’ ‘Christmas was good this year.’ are everywhere seen in those pithy panels. Probably by now many decorations are packed away for another twelve months. So, is it an event? An ethereal something with no defined beginning or ending? A brief gathering around a gift-encircled tree? A dinner? A date to check off the calendar? We’ve been snowed under (with all due respect to those who are, literally) with Christmas sales advertising via TV, newspaper, billboards, catalogues, online ads, banners across storefronts, etc. for an entire two months. And the music! And suddenly, with a burst of relieved sighing, the mopping of fatigued brows, and the tossing of trash bags filled with paper and ribbons and bows and most likely several smaller gifts along with them – silence. And don’t bring it up for another twelve months, please. Certainly, don’t call attention to its approach on any of the 25ths throughout the year on pain of scowling reproach!
And yet, it seems to me that for devoted friends of Jesus, Christmas is the celebration not only of his birth, but his breaking in to our world, his inauguration of the Kingdom Now, his moving into the neighborhood, his brilliance banishing the darkness, his revealing the Father heart of God. In that light, Christmas is the beginning of many beginnings, the start of much newness, the initial transformation of many upcoming transformations, startlingly new lives, gritty hope, mind-blowing peace, irrepressible joy, and love which is all these gifts bundled together and made forever and irreversibly, incomprehensibly, ours. To condense all this God-sized abundance into a couple hours or a single day, when it is a daily-renewed truth, a daily-refreshed provision, a moment-by-moment reality, staggers the mind. Instead, its overflow becomes our worship; worship in songs, hymns and spiritual singing, worship in gatherings of likeminded folk, worship in silent awe, worship in family, worship in the beauty of nature . . . Good luck fully expressing all that before next December! (hmm. Will that make us Vineyard Christmasites or Christmas Vineyardites?) PD
ps Besides, today’s just the 3rd day of Christmas!