Christmas is Over!
Published Dec. 30, 2011 @ 6 a.m.
Christmas is over! Well, Christmas can be over anyway. All the gifts have been bought or they generally aren’t going to be. All the cards that will be sent have been sent. The decorations are probably still up. It’s amazing how much easier it is to be excited about getting the decorations up than it is to be excited about taking all the decorations down. The family dinner is over. Some continue to have family and for a few people Christmas is still coming. Not everyone gets to have Christmas on Christmas day. I have a sister who works in retail. Her Christmas comes in March if then.
In many ways this Christmas was a special year. I guess the highlight was the number of “Christmas Angels” who were going in and paying off other people’s layaway Christmas presents. Of course, there were the number of people who participated in the canned food drives, the “Toys for Tots” programs and “the Angel Trees.” In our own community the Lion’s Club (and Rotary) drive for the bicycles brought Christmas cheer to many. I was also struck by how much coverage was given to all of these events. It felt good to have news that was good not just news that was bad.
For the church Christmas doesn’t end until January 6th. That is the celebration of Jesus’ Epiphany; when Jesus was revealed to the rest of the world. But after that time the Christmas decorations will come out of the sanctuary. The sanctuary will look drab for a few weeks after that. People will begin to say things like, “wouldn’t it be nice if all the sentiments the world speaks at Christmas could be lived out the rest of the year?”
Of course, the answer is that we can live out Christmas all year long. One of the great blocks of Christ’s teachings is found in John 13-16 also known as “the Last Discourse.” Two of those teachings were “Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23) and “"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34) In other words, we can have Christmas all year long simply by allowing Jesus to dwell in us and through us. The sign that Jesus dwells in us is that Jesus’ love enables us to love one another as Christ as loved us. May Christmas live in us always.