Remember back in November when people couldn’t wait to put up their Christmas lights and decorations? It made sense, really. With the gathering darkness of winter on top of the grief of the pandemic, everyone was anxious to celebrate light and hope.
Now, though, as we head into the middle of January, the trees are down and the lights are boxed up for another year.
If you look around, however, the weariness is still with us. The waves of Covid 19 keep coming and there remains justifiable rage and frustration at leaders who spout falsehood as fact, deny science, politicize safety measures, and normalize bigotry and bullying.
Despite the New Year and changes on the horizon, it can still feel like a season of lament.
So maybe this year, just as the decorations went up early and brighter than ever, we can hold on to the power of Christmas longer and with greater fervor than usual.
Because we need it.
Of course, the truth of Christmas isn’t bound by any season anyway. It is even beyond scriptural stories. It is, or at least should be, who we are.
The trouble is, we don’t treat it that way. After the start of the New Year, we tend to box up the season, the stories, and the rejoicing until next Advent. We move on.
In fact, even the bible moves on too. After the accounts of Jesus’ birth (which appear only in Matthew and Luke) and the arrival of the Magi (which appears only in Matthew), the story of Christ moves rapidly to his adult baptism at age 30 save for one small anecdote of his time in the Temple at age 12.
Christmas is left behind. And we leave it behind too.
This year, let’s linger in the light of the Star, the angel’s Good News, and the comfort and joy a little longer. God knows that we need it. And God knows, because of the miracle of Bethlehem, that we have it.
This year, keep your Christmas storage box open as a reminder to keep your heart open; open to the wonder of God’s accompaniment, healing, hope and love that comes to us each and every moment of our lives through the birth of Christ at Christmas.
It really is the best way to launch and advance 2021 in the spirit of God’s love.