If Christ has been born to us, we have to get busy.
Christopher Blumhardt, When the Time Was Fulfilled, 134
Extra Christmas Time
This is it: the lone Sunday between Christmas and Epiphany.
After the long wait of Advent, and the bright bustling arrival of Christmas, we get this one extra week before we move into a new season.
I wrote before that we tell our kids in Sunday School that the mystery of Christmas is so special, we have to spend 4 weeks preparing for it. But even that isn’t enough. When Christmas finally arrives, that mystery is so incredible, we spend 12 days experiencing it.
Personally, I need the extra time.
Not to clean the house or finish the leftovers or unpack after holiday travels.
I need the time spiritually.
The mysterious miracle of Christmas lingers for days, inviting us to sink into it, to truly celebrate the power of incarnation.
And I need that. Otherwise, I might move through Christmas too quickly, and the impact of Jesus being born — of light coming into our world — might get lost in all the hectic holiday chaos.
An Open Invitation to God
Having the extra time doesn’t necessarily mean I know what to do with it, though.
I mean, how does one take in the mystery of an incarnated God? How does one truly absorb the amazing story of that baby born in Bethlehem?
Even if you have 12 days to do it, how do you really celebrate Christmas?
We have to prove in our own lives that Christ is born, that God is with us. But we are constantly in danger of going about our business without Christ. We keep up our old ways of life and do not allow God to enter our daily affairs.
I think that’s where we start: with an invitation for God to enter our daily affairs.
There are all kinds of moments in the church year that encourage us to pause, reflect on our lives, and make a change. This is one of them.
These 12 days of celebrating Christmas are an opportunity for us to reorient our hearts, our lives, our wallets, our goals, our thoughts toward God.
That is repentance, a turning — even for the thousandth time — toward what is Holy.
With Bethlehem Behind Us
We, too, have journeyed to Bethlehem, beheld the wonder of Love come for us, and returned, like the shepherds, praising and glorifying God for all we have seen there.
And we know that praising and glorifying can not be completed in one day; rather, it is the spiritual work of a lifetime.
As we walk away from Bethlehem, one more time, may we feel in our hearts a new commitment to allow God into our daily affairs. May we answer the call we have heard at the manger to go out into the world and live God’s powerful, life-changing love even in our mundane post-Christmas lives.
There are 7 days left in Christmas. Let’s get busy.