Unfortunately, too many of us are pretty much done with Christmas by around noon on December 25 and we miss the Twelve Days. That's a shame for many reasons, but mostly because it means we've been getting is wrong - off course by a mile - since the Holiday Season came out of the gate so fast the day after Thanksgiving. It's as if we've been pre-programmed to head off in the wrong direction, literally bamboozled by secular values that we have married to a weak form of Christianity in an effort to stay afloat.
In My Heart I Carry A Star: stories for Advent. It's not just a collection of great stories, it's a guide to a December that actually works! To be honest, it frustrates me no end to hear people trot out the same tired complaints about the Holiday Season every year, arrive at Christmas day tired and disappointed and then declare that "Next year we'll do things right".... while all the time there's a perfectly good book just waiting to show them the way!
Christmas didn't start until December 25! Before that it was Advent... preparation... getting ready. When you're ready, then the thing itself makes more sense
At my house, we're slowly dismantling the amazing Christmas Feng Shui Rebekah always achieves throughout Mall Hall. But the lights, and the trees - and the celebration - will remain through "Twelfth Night".
This morning, thinking about the Eleven Pipers - and pipers traditionally herald something exciting - I thought I'd share 11 Christmas Truths for the New Year. Truth worth blowing some pipes over.
- Love Came Down at Christmas: The idea of love was expanded when Christ was born; it's a concept that was waiting for deeper meaning. When Jesus was wrapped in bands of cloth again, 33 years later, love was not redefined so much as completed.
- Christmas is a "Thin Place": The barrier between the mundane and the sacred is much easier to penetrate this time of the year. It's as if the eternal and the temporary are fused. Christmas demonstrates what becomes possible through Jesus.
- Wonder is at our fingertips: God is not beyond our reach - Christmas proves this to everyone.
- Faith transcends culture: It's curious, but the very time of the year most exploited by commerce always managed to turn the tables. Self indulgence never satisfies; self-giving love always does. Go figure.
- Light is stronger than darkness: Sometimes our faith is just a candle, standing against a great darkness. But it stands.
- Giving makes us smile more than receiving: Why limit this joy to late December? Use your imagination.
- Celebration adds strength: Did you ever notice how invigorating it is to sing "Joy to the World" with other people? Try the discipline this morning. How about every morning? Why not tap into this biblical truth - "The Joy of the Lord is my strength!"
- Christmas is an ongoing invitation: Jesus was born then so that he could be reborn in me today. "Let Christ be born in me anew every day!" Jesus is as alive today as he was in the manger.
- Nothing has the power to separate us from God! Christmas is more than a birthday party; Christmas is God's answer to humanity's great need. Not "was" God's answer, but "is" God's answer.
- Christmas is God's statement of faith in humanity: Christmas was not a last-gasp attempt, a Hail Mary final play pass, or a desperate lunge when all else has failed. Christmas is God's plan for people because God believes in people.
- My Eleven Pipers are piping a song of joy because Christmas is Good News! January doldrums don't have a prayer when faced with the truth of Christmas. The light has come; the light is come. There is no dark day or desperate night or troubling circumstance that cannot - will not - be penetrated by the light.
After today, there's one more day of Christmas. Don't forget to keep celebrating tomorrow!