Does anyone feel this week between Christmas and New Year’s is, well, strange? My feelings about this past week in general have always been met with a strong sense of, well, awkwardness. The days and hours seem to pass differently than what they do during the rest of the year. I have had the pleasure this week of piecing together a worship service for this Sunday. Although I cannot claim ownership of the whole reflection that will be offered, it has caused me to step back and reflect on my own holiday traditions and I hope it will do the same for you.
This year we have faced what seems like another roller coaster. It was really pleasing to begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The situation with the global pandemic made a switch to one that was more hopeful and optimistic but this all changed over the past couple of weeks with the development of a new variant of concern. With many holiday plans shattered, people facing isolation once again, and restrictions re-introduced it almost seemed as if someone had hit the replay button on March 2020.
Due to the restrictions this year, my family chose to opt for a safer alternative for our Christmas Day plans. I know many others who were also choosing safer ways to gather amidst rapidly rising case counts. For the second year in a row, our family was not able to celebrate Christmas the traditional way we once had. I felt this Christmas I was able to recognize the small things that Christmas is all about. I had the pleasure of sharing Christmas day with those closet to me. We shared in family Christmas traditions that go back decades upon decades. Without the chaos and clatter of our once large family Christmas gathering, I was able to truly appreciate a small family Christmas. I was able to feel the spirit of Christmas in our home once again, almost as if love crept in beside us, much like the Christ Child came to us that holy night. We had a simple Christmas that lacked the many luxuries and noise of modern life, much like the night of Christ’s birth, only a manger for the Son of God. I often wonder how the birth of Christ would have been different had there been some more glamour and special effects? Maybe some fireworks, special lighting, a fog machine, a disco ball? Would that really have made Christmas much better?
This Sunday, the worship service will be led a few choir members, Brynna, and myself. We will be sharing stories, an unwrapping so to speak, of many of the small, ordinary Christmas symbols most of us have at home. We invite you as you remove your Christmas decorations over the next little bit to think about the meaning of each of these symbols as well as the meaning of your own Christmas traditions.
As 2021 winds down, remember to let God’s hope, peace, joy, and love move with you into 2022. We don’t know what’s to come but we can face it with God at our side. We can face it with each other. Strip away the noise and simply share Christ with everyone you meet. Xmas might be over but the work of Christmas has just begun – and it starts with you and me.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year