Sisters in Scripture
Christmas Continues
12/27/2019 Kathleen MacInnis Kichline

CHRISTMAS CONTINUES…

Throughout Advent, we used the Advent wreath for our prayer before meals and many a morning in the darkness before dawn, the circle of its light was witness against the night.  My cup of tea and I were warmed by a halo of light until emerging color slowly spilled into the room.  Only when the glow of candle gave way to fullness of day, could I extinguish the flames for the they had served their purpose.  

Advent, too, gives way to the brightness of Christ’s coming, the fullness of day, at Christmas.  In years past, I have put away the Advent Wreath at this point, albeit reluctantly, for I was mindful of its faithful company.  This year, I am following liturgical example and simply adding a Christ candle to the center and I love it.  Advent does not feel so much over as it does complete.  Our dinner now enjoys the brightness of many candles as we dine. My morning circle of light has grown that much wider and welcome.  

Christmas is, after all, more than a day; it is a season.  The proverbial Twelve Days of Christmas bring us to January 6th, the traditional date for Epiphany.  So, how do we continue to celebrate these Twelve Days of Christmas—without lords a leaping and maids a milking?   Another gift the liturgy gives us is the daily readings.  Praying the suggested readings brings us to other important parts of the Christmas story: the slaying of the innocent children in Bethlehem and the encounter with Simeon and Anna in the temple who prophesy the downfall and rise of many in Israel.  The first day after Christmas we read about the stoning of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the church.  

Quickly, we turn from the tranquil manger scene to other parts of the Christmas story that are dark and disturbing but also vital.  Christmas cannot be contained within the lean-to of the creche.  Christmas is not only for those who gather like a Norman Rockwell scene.   The Christmas story also includes death, terror, political unrest, division, fear, and uncertainty—just as our stories do.  The life-changing, world-changing effect of Christ’s coming is still being and yet-to-be realized.  These days invite us to ponder the implication of Christmas for here and now and for whom and where it is most needed.  It is deep preparation for the return to our ordinary time and lives so in need of transformation.  

This morning, the reading was John 1:1-18, the same one we read at the candle lighting in church on Christmas Eve.  I read it as a brilliant dawn emerged and overcame the glow of candlelight.  I read it with Richard Rohr’s Universal Christ still on my mind.  I slid from my chair to my knees in acknowledgement, a wordless "Amen.”  

May you have such moments of unfolding Christmas awareness.  May you continue to carry the hope and the joy of Christmas in your hearts as you wonder again at the miracle of God-with-us.


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