Up and down my street, wreathes, and bows are disappearing from doors and mailboxes, and former brightly lit trees are stripped of their twinkles and headed for the recycling center.
Being of strong English-Scotch-Irish descent, I’m hanging on to Christmas. My ancestors used to celebrate Christmas on January 6, the date we observe as Epiphany when the wise men found the baby Jesus in the manger.
When Christmas day arrives, I’m just beginning to celebrate. I can’t bear to put all the baby Jesus figures back in the box until at least January 6.
Just the other day, I overheard someone in a store say, “I’m so glad it’s over.”
It’s not over.
It’s just beginning.
This morning I read these words from The Message in Romans 8: “With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah… Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death… In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.”
That little manger baby is here to put it all straight. What all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could never put back together, an infant comes to restore.
In my life. And your life.
Thank you, Jesus.
After Scrooge’s life altering encounters with the three ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, Charles Dickens writes, “It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well..”
May it be said of us that we keep Christmas well, that we allow Jesus to enter the garbage heap of our lives with his beauty and power and restoration.
And so, old Christmas or new, no matter which day we put the clay baby Jesus back in the box, let's allow the eternal One to reign in our hearts.