Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmastide - Downtime

On the 5th Day of Christmas there was downtime. In the version of the Christian calendar we're following in this series this is just known as "The Fifth Day of the Octave (i.e., 8 days) of Christmas."  There are no feasts today, no commemorations. If you happen to be a big fan of Thomas Becket this would be the day you remember him, though it has nothing to do with Christmas (except that he was slaughtered so soon after it)...

But there is a lesson in this day. After all, even life with the newborn Son of God wasn't a miracle a minute. There were no doubt weeks and months where nothing happened outside of ordinary, droning, peasant family life. Even the fact that they were refugees in Egypt for some time wouldn't have altered the mundaneness of the life of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

Days like the 5th Day of Christmas, which basically just tick off time in the commemoration of Jesus' young life, help bring home the reality of all this. They hint that, despite all the wonders that swirl around the Holy Family at crucial moments, they were much more like us with all our prosaic concerns than we may think. As the Gospel of Luke tells us a little later on, most of Jesus' early life could be described this way: "The child grew up and became strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him," (Gospel of Luke, chapter 2 verse 40, Common English Bible).

But that's to be expected. It is in legends and fairy tales that miracles happen every minute; here we are dealing with history. It just happens to be history in which God is with us.

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