Well, Christmas has come! This past Sunday we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. All the anticipation and buildup of the past month found its climax. We opened presents, visited with family, ate a ton of food, and played with our toys. It was a fun and exciting day. A day to rejoice, a day to be happy, a day to love. I bet most of us gave a huge sigh of relief when we went to bed. So, now what? Did all this planning, cooking, wrapping, and decorating have one day of explosive celebration? That seems like a big letdown for me. Maybe that is why I love to remind people that it is still Christmas. In the Church, Christmas is not just a day, but a season. Most Churches celebrate Christmas for 12 days, but it can last as much as 40 days.
While shops and stores are preparing to sell off the Christmas left-overs and start setting up for the next holiday, Christians can continue to celebrate. The Christian faith gives us a whole lot to celebrate at Christmas. For Christmas is the beginning of salvation. It is the birth of Love on earth. It is the reality that God became human as the Incarnate God. Through Jesus Christ we are being cleansed and adopted into the family of God. Through the Incarnation, God has opened the door for the Holy Spirit to live and move in our lives. One day just does not seem to match the endless joy that we can experience with the birth of Jesus.
One of my favorite Christmas readings comes to us from the book of Titus 3, “But ‘when God our savior’s kindness and love appeared, he saved us because of his mercy, not because of righteous things we had done. He did it through the washing of new birth and the renewing by the Holy Spirit, which God poured out upon us generously through Jesus Christ our savior. So, since we have been made righteous by his grace, we can inherit the hope for eternal life.’” This is why I celebrate Christmas longer than one day. My hope was born on Christmas Day. God’s grace was given fully on Christmas Day. The birth of God’s generosity came to us and continues to be given to this day.
I say go ahead and keep listening to Christmas music. Watch those Christmas movies. Keep wishing people “Merry Christmas.” Continue giving out gifts. For the season of Christmas has just begun. Also, this gives us the continuing opportunity to give people a great Christmas. Above I described the joy of Christmas, but that joy is not with everyone. Some had to work on Christmas Day, some had to wait for family, and some have no family to celebrate with. Now that your family has celebrated the day, maybe it’s time to celebrate with those who have no reason to be joyful. You still have time to spread the Christmas Hope to all people. Do not let the world tell you that Christmas is over. Christmas is still around and active. Remember Jesus is “washing” and “renewing.” These are present, active verbs. God continues to do these things through the Holy Spirit and the birth of a Baby began it all. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!