Where did the year go? It seems just yesterday we were looking at the beginning of 2016, full of hope; now things are winding down,
Or should that be winding up, given the busyness of the season?
Christmas is coming, but you already knew that. It is 24 days away. Unless of course you follow the old calendar, then you have an extra couple of weeks to get ready.
I have mixed feelings about this time of year, and not just because we are settling in to a Canadian winter. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of seasonal preparations, I find myself at times feeling a little sad. So much surrounding the holiday seems empty, a busyness designed to distract people from thinking about what they are celebrating.
The preparations start at least three months in advance, always leading me to ask why. I know everyone loves a party (or almost everyone anyway. As an introvert parties have never been my favourite thing). In the same way, everyone loves a baby. They are cute and cuddly and full of potential.
So I get the idea of a worldwide party celebrating the birth of a baby, in theory anyway. In practice I wonder what there is for most people to celebrate.
For Christians, Christmas is important, especially when you consider it as a beginning. Christmas starts the countdown to Good Friday and Easter. Can’t have one without the other.
For most of the world though, the desire is to see the infant Jesus frozen in time. The last thing they want to consider is other adjectives. Baby Jesus is cute. Lord Jesus or Jesus Christ presents theological issues that most people don’t want to address. Let’s have the party for the baby, and let’s not ask what he did when he grew up.
Even in our post-truth world everyone at some point will have to react to what happened after Christmas. You can try and postpone it, but eventually you will have to respond to Jesus’ story, have to consider what happened after the “three kings” left their gifts and went back to the “Orient.” As you get into the spirit of this holiday season, remember that there is no point in celebrating Christmas unless you can also embrace what happened afterward.