By the time you read this the mad rush to post Christmas cards, finish Christmas shopping and visit friends and family before the 25th will be in full swing.
Advent calendars are supposed to last through December all the way to Christmas Eve – opening another door each day as Christmas edges closer. At church, we prepare to welcome Jesus again, as if getting ready to welcome a guest. But this time of anticipation is easily missed. As we know, the temptation with Advent calendars is to scoff the chocolate all at once, as if we can’t wait for Christmas to arrive. By the time the rush is over, some of us are already ‘Christmassed out,’ and ready to collapse in a heap, thankful that it’s all over for another year.
As it stands, the Christmas story is an unsettling one. A young couple arrive in town with nowhere to stay. The young woman gives birth in a cowshed. Before long soldiers are looking for them and they go on the run, arriving in Egypt as refugees.
What lifts this story of homelessness, deprivation and persecution is the hope that shines through it - the angels sing of what this baby means to the world and the mysterious wise men from the East follow a star especially to find him. In the middle of turmoil, God shows his hand.
There’s so much to think about that Christmas is a whole twelve days long. But how often do you hear people asking others if they had a nice Christmas, as if it’s already over, on Boxing Day? They’re missing a whole ten days of Christmas!
I hope that you manage to make Christmas last this year. I wish you all its blessings, and a peaceful New Year.