Monday, December 26, 2011

The Tide of Christmas Comes In

The tide comes in
Photo courtesy of SM14
For Jesus' followers, citizens of a different country as we are, Christmas didn't mark the end of Advent so much as the start of "Christmastide". We have our own calendar you know, set up to run us through the words and deeds of Jesus year after year so that, more and more, we breathe his atmosphere -- think like he thinks, react as he would react.

For a lot of very fine people (including me until fairly recently) the fact of this calendar only surfaces in their brains on Christmas and Easter, making the period we're in right now just that nice vacation time when we eat leftovers, play video games, and wait for New Years Day. The only reminder that something Noel-like may still be going on is that odd little song about there being "12 Days of Christmas..."

But the Christian calendar reminds us that there is indeed something still happening, something every bit as revolutionary as what we talked about during Advent. "The Christmas season, or Christmastide, is not about one feast day," Joan Chittister tells us. " It is a series of feasts that embed in us a kind of refracted glory, the underpinnings, the other pieces of the mosaic that complete the feast itself... Christmas -- the light that shone upon a manger -- was also, the ancients knew, the light that led them on beyond it as well," (The Liturgical Year, pg. 90).

The organizers of the 3-month Common English Bible Blog Tour I'm participating in suggest a theme of "personal renewal and spiritual commitment" for this period of time. We'll certainly get into that; re-commitment to Christ is something my church has a tradition of doing around this time that dates to the 1750's. 

But it's not all about us and we don't follow Jesus of Nazareth alone. Let's allow this intricate calendar his Church has worked out over the years lead us through this time and see what it has to tell us. 

Like the humble peasant girl that just bore Jesus let's, "commit these things to memory and considered them carefully," (Gospel of Luke, chapter 2 verse 19, CEB).

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