Today – Friday – is the official “12th Day of Christmas.”
I know this comes as a surprise to some people, including those who threw Christmas out on the street along with their tree just a few hours after the last gift had been unwrapped.
Not so fast, America! Christmas Day was just the beginning of the Jesus celebration, and the 12th day is simply a place-marker. The entire point of Christ’s coming was – is – to move out from the confines of the Christmas card nativity scene and into the day-to-day reality that is our constant invitation to live!
Last Sunday at WFPC pastor John opened and closed his message by inviting the congregation to do something imaginative with the baby Jesus. Instead of shoving the Lord into a box with the shepherds and the sheep and the camels, and consigning him to eleven months in the attic, John suggested putting Jesus on the windowsill where he can look out into the world he came to save.
Not just Jesus looking out, but us looking out into the world with the eyes of Jesus – looking through the eyes of Jesus.
John’s idea reminds me of a story from In My Heart I Carry A Star. Rebekah and I had been cleaning for a party several weeks after Christmas when we found a holdout angel on the chandelier, hanging on for dear life. Our first reaction had been to nab him, stash him, and toss him in the garage. Then we had this epiphany: maybe the angel had avoided the first purge because we needed to be reminded that the spirit of Jesus should never be packed away, taped up, and stored in a dark place.
“You are the light of the world,” Jesus said (and he was talking about us). “A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
That’s us. Jesus is commissioning us to take the light he offers – the light of his grace, his love, his hope, his peace, his promise – and to carry that light out into the world.
Not just looking out through the window – although that is a powerful image – but moving out into the darkness, hanging from the chandelier if necessary, sharing the light, living with his kind of power and purpose.