“Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word,
because my eyes have seen your salvation.
You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples.
It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and a glory for your people Israel.” – Luke 2:29-32
I hope your Christmas is still alive. I hope the celebration of Christ’s birth didn’t quietly peter out with a whimper some time before the New Year. I hope this Christmas at least made it beyond the unwrapping of gifts. I hope.
Because if Christmas does not last beyond December 25 then it likely never was Christmas to begin with, and whatever hopes we have for 2021 might as well be consigned to the recycling bin with the rest of the wrappings and trappings. Because the gifts of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy are not really ours unless we actually receive them.
This is why our angels here at Maul-Hall are still singing, our magi are still traveling, our shepherds are still on their knees, our nativity is still front and center, and we still have a lot of light. The decorations may only be symbols, but they are symbols that are impressing – inexorably – the good story on our hearts.
Most of the decorations will return to the attic today, but a few of the characters (some by design and some by accident), are destined to remain dotted around the landscape of our home in order to remind us.
- I am deliberately keeping out a small grouping of magi to remind me to keep following the star.
- At least one nativity will remain because there is no day in the year that isn’t rooted in the story of Jesus.
- An angel, or two, will typically dodge the box and hide out on a bookshelf or window ledge, calling us to worship.
Good theology is rooted in great story:
Mostly, Rebekah and I keep the story alive because it is the story that empowers us. Good theology is always rooted in great story, and while Rebekah may keep a complete set of “Calvin’s Commentaries” on her bookshelf it is stories such as the birth of Jesus that bring all that heady stuff into clear focus.
The Greatest Story Ever Told is not over when we turn away from the manger. We have an elder on hand at the conclusion of the Walk Through Bethlehem experience at WFPC. “The story is not over,” he/she says, leading the crowd to a clearing where three empty crosses stand. “The story continues to the cross, where after living a life defined by love Jesus died for each one of us. The story is ongoing today, because we live in the power of his resurrection and we invite others into this story of irrepressible love.”
That is exactly what I mean when I say that Christmas is not over, not by a long shot. Tomorrow the church calendar moves from Christmas into Epiphany. But it is a shift in emphasis that never moves away from Jesus.
This is the story of irrepressible love; this is our story too – DEREK