by Lilly Lewin
Happy Christmas! Yes, it’s still Christmas according to the Church Calendar. We are in the midst of the Twelve Days of Christmas that run til Epiphany on January 6th. The beautiful thing about following the Church Year : WE GET TO continue the celebration of the Birth of Jesus. We don’t have to take everything down and pack it all up or stop listening to Christmas music. We can give ourselves permission to pause, to rest, to recover. When I worked on a church staff, it truly was a gift to have the twelve days of Christmas to actually celebrate the season. There was far too much work to enjoy the days before the 25th.
I still need the days after the 25th to stop and enjoy the lights, the tree, and make time for reflection. I still need time to be in the Spirit of Christmas. I had planned to bake some cookies for my neighbors, but it just didn’t happen before Christmas day. But with the gift of the Twelve Days of Christmas, I will give New Year’s gifts, or at the rate I’m going, Epiphany presents! And this is totally OK. It’s a gift! The Gift of the Season of Christmas reminds me not to be in a hurry, not to be frantic, but to enjoy each day, each hour with friends, family, with myself and Jesus. As a part of my practice during the Twelve Days of Christmas, I’m enjoying the devotions in You Are the Beloved by Henri Nouwen. compiled by Gabrielle Earnshaw. I love this reminder that we are not alone this Christmas Season. Immanuel, God is with us! Merry Christmas!
“God came to us because he wanted to join us on the road, to listen to our story, and to help us realize that we are not walking in circles but moving toward the house of peace and joy. This is the great mystery of Christmas that continues to give us comfort and consolation: we are not alone on our journey. The God of love who gave us life sent his only Son to be with us at all times and in all places, so that we never have to feel lost in our struggles but always can trust that he walks with us.
The challenge is to let God be who he wants to be. A part of us clings to our aloneness and does not allow God to touch us where we are most in pain. Often we hide from him precisely those places in ourselves where we feel guilty, ashamed, confused, and lost. Thus we do not give him a chance to be with us where we feel most alone.
Christmas is the renewed invitation not to be afraid and to let him—whose love is greater than our own hearts and minds can comprehend—be our companion.” Henri Nouwen