This year I am not eager to “put away” Christmas. It all happened so fast. I barely had a chance to catch the magic – that late night, twinkling light moment, when it is all perfect. No sooner had I accomplished all that the season requires – the wrapping, the meals, the festivities and just the general intrigue of what’s under the tree – then tannebaums are denigrated to gutter-side timber. Christmas lights are dismantled, and hang limply from the tree limbs, waiting to be shelved – their sparkle and wonder packed up. Mystified, I stand on the front porch with my cup of coffee warming my hands, wondering if I somehow missed it. Is that it? Is it over… ? I barely got it going. I so wanted to linger in the silent night aura that promises something greater, something maybe only the stars the angels and the sheep can understand.
I know, after Epiphany, it is liturgically scandalous to hold onto Christmas. But to me there is something more. I wanted Christmas to change us in the new year, for the coming of Christ to precipitate us breaking out of the box. Or break something out of the box. Hasn’t a new way come? Even the wise men, who worshipped at the feet of the Christ, went home by a different way. What is that way? The prophet Isaiah teaches us that our valleys will be raised up, and our mountains made low, and all our rough places will become smooth like a plain… and then we shall see the glory of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3-5). He says it will be a way of Holiness, where feeble hands will be strengthened, where blind eyes will see and the deaf hear. The lame will leap like a dear and the mute will shout for joy. And waters will gush forth in the wilderness! (Isaiah 35:3-10) That’s what I wanted – for the glory of the Lord to shine “in my dark street” and for it to meet the “hopes and fears of all the years …”1 Can we casino online really just put all that back in the box?
The Christmas story, and Epiphany, Lent and certainly Easter, all teach us the same thing. The Way has come, and the Light is shining in our darkness… and He is called Jesus. All the promises of Isaiah did and do happen through Jesus. This is our new way. But how will we live it? What did the disciples do, after Jesus had come to them? The Book of Acts says:
“They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship,
and to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
Everyone was filled with awe,
and many wonders and miraculous signs were done …
All the believers were together and had everything in common….
and they gave to anyone as he had need.
Everyday they continued to meet together…
They broke bread in their homes and ate together
with glad and sincere hearts,
praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” (Acts 2:42-47)
As I think back over the last six weeks -neighbors gathering together, shared meals, giving what
we have, and sometimes more, to others, greeting others in the name of the Lord, with our “Merry Christmas” hugs and kisses -isn’t that what we’ve been doing?
So in the bleak mid-winter light, I cling to this Way. A Way of generosity without counting the cost. A Way of acceptance and welcome. A Way of reconciliation. A Way of honoring God and others. A Way of love. What if our lives characterized these traits through and through? What would our way look like then? Then our light would break forth in the darkness and our healing quickly appear – and our righteousness would go before us and the glory of the Lord be our rear guard. (Isaiah 58:8,10) That is my prayer for the new year. That we may follow the Way!
Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
No, I don’t think I will be boxing the lights up, just yet.
Many special thanks to all of you who have bought my new book, Hand in Hand, Walking with the Psalms through Loneliness, and supported me along the way. I now seem to be a bit more in book sales rather than book writing. If you are interested, it is now available for sale through my website: elizabethheadblack.com. Later in the Spring, it will be available on Amazon.com and available in retail bookstores. My other New Year’s prayer is to do more writing on my blog and begin work on my next book. Keep me in your prayers!