Monday, January 7, 2019

Saying Goodbye to Christmas

Yesterday was Epiphany, which means Saturday was the “Twelfth Day of Christmas”. So, yesterday afternoon I took down the outdoor Christmas decorations—the last one in our neighborhood to do so. I suspect a large percent of folks don’t know about the twelve days of Christmas, or about Epiphany; even though, virtually everyone who has any familiarity with Christianity knows about the “Three Wise Men.”
Well, anyway, I took it all down yesterday. It was a bitter sweet exercise. The season has been busier than some in the past (or is it that at almost 77 years of age, it just takes more effort to do the same things?) So, I’m relieved that the pace is slowing; and, yet, I grieve the passing of what also has been one of the most enjoyable Christmases in memory. We’ve had all our kids, and they came in shifts, so we got to focus exclusively on one family at a time. Their trips to our home overlapped, so we also got to experience short times of “whole family” togetherness. It was good.
I’ve had what seems like a harder time than usual letting go of the season. I think I’m aware that, at my age, my usual assumptions about “next year” are not as solid as in previous years. Don’t misunderstand: I’ll still plan and anticipate and prepare for “next Christmas.”
Last Thursday (the Tenth Day of Christmas) I was at home alone. Jo Lynn had gone into Little Rock to keep a regularly scheduled appointment with her doctor, to do some shopping, and to meet some friends for lunch. 
I turned on all the Christmas lights in the living room, built a fire in the fireplace, and tuned in to my favorite YouTube Christmas channel: one final orgy of self-indulgent Christmas nostalgia. It was great; and it was even better when Jo Lynn got home and we could share the moment. She didn’t even laugh at me—too much.
So, now the cat’s out of the bag, and you know what a sentimental mush I am. I even like Hallmark Christmas movies.
But, yesterday was Epiphany. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.(John 1:3b-5 NRSV)
Light. Shining for all the world to see.
Christmas has been very personal for me this year—like birth. And now Epiphany calls me to acknowledge the universal manifestation of God’s love and grace. It’s easier to let go of something dear when there’s something drawing me/us toward something else that also is exciting and enriching.
I sense a new sermon series coming into the light: a series on “Light”. 
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. (Isaiah 9:2 NRSV)
May the light shine on you, and may your own light reflect the One who is light!
That’s the way it looks through the Flawed Glass that is my world view.
Together in the Walk,

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