With Christmas Day two days gone, things are starting to get back to normal in people’s lives. I got mail again today. Downtown Seattle has sprung back to life. And the buses were jam packed with people heading home from work this afternoon. But I don’t want things to be done as a matter of fact I feel like I am just starting.
Over the last few weeks, you may have heard the Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Song, Christmas Time is Here. During part of the song, the Chipmunks urge Christmas to hurry and to hurry fast. Good news for the Chipmunks it did and it does every year. But Christmas is just getting started for the Church. We are only on Day 3 of Twelve. You know the old song The 12 Days of Christmas, it is referring to a real thing: the season of Christmas in the church year which starts on the 25th and runs until January 6, The Day of Epiphany. It seems strange to me that with all the buildup that our society engages in throughout the month of December, that we are willing to let it go so easily. Only celebrating Christmas on Christmas Day seems like a waste and a paltry way of rejoicing over the mystery of the incarnation, the mystery of the God-man Jesus.
Over the last few days, my facebook status has read, “There is a great mystery here.” And truly there is nothing else that I can really say about the Incarnation, it is a mystery and in this life we have three ways of dealing with mystery. We either ignore it, because it is too difficult to understand. We try and figure it out and thereby control it; which is a helpful practice when dealing with something natural and close like gravity, but difficult and may I even say wrong when considering the mysteries of God or an ever expanding universe. Then there is the most logical solution, which is to simply be in awe of it.
Moving quickly through Christmas offers anyone a way to ignore the mystery or at best control it, by limiting it to a single day or dressing it up in some kind of mythic figure so that the great mystery isn’t how God becomes man, but instead how one can visit all the houses in the world in one night. It is much harder to stand in awe and wonder and realize you don’t understand at all. So use the next few days as an extended Christmas vacation. Continue to greet others with a Merry Christmas. Reread the Christmas story a few more times and really consider how insane Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, wisemen, angels and even God were to undertake this task. Or maybe just go outside and look up at the stars and be confronted by the massive nature of something that you can’t begin to understand. There is a great mystery in that sky and because of the incarnation, there is a great mystery that exists with us. Don’t hurry through it.
Jon Glenn is the intern Pastor at Lakeridge Lutheran Church for 2011-2012 school year. This year he is commemorating the 12 Days of Christmas with daily cookies and coffee.