Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Why are people so eager to be done with Christmas? The frenzy now begins in October with Christmas decorations showing up in stores. Then by January 1st people are done with it. Before the new year rings in out go the trees and down go the lights. Why canʼt Christmas spill into the New Year? In my house the tree is still up and stately. The snowﬂake lights are still on the front porch and the deck lights still glow. The manger scene is still in tack and the cards are on display. I need Christmas to usher in the New Year.
Christmas is about beginnings not something to pack up and put away. As a child we never decorated our tree until Christmas Eve. We all decorated the tree and my Dad would sit in his chair and open mounds of Christmas cards that he brought home from work. The evening ended with church or the next morning we went to church. Church was alway in the picture. I grew up memorizing the words to Christmas Carols listening to them on my 45 record player.
Our tree stayed up until January 6 – Epiphany. This date on the church calendar marks the arrival of the Kings, the Wise Men. It was at the Epiphany service that we had candles. We were allowed to keep the candles. No turning them in at the end of the service because we were to take the light into the world. We kept our candles lit even as we drove home in a car without seat belts. Four Kids with lighted candles. The goal to take the light into our house. We usually achieved our goal but mostly because we had a brave mother who delighted in the Lord. So today as everyone is being done with Christmas I have let it usher in the New Year. I need itʼs light, its message. I need the person it honors. I need the story to take me forward.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The Epiphany, or the manifestation of the Christ to the Gentiles. This is the statement about the event in the church calendar in the Episcopal Prayer book. This is such an interesting celebration especially to me as a missionary. It marks the visit of the Gentiles to ﬁnd the baby Jesus. I just noticed something a few days ago that in the Gospel of Matthew in the story about the wise men. I noticed that the magi who came from the East said that they wanted to know where the King of the Jews was because they had come to WORSHIP him. It is the worship part that struck me. They actually said all this to King Herod! So they were saying that Herod the half breed was not the king of the Jews. Yet for this new king the Magi were prepared to worship. WOW. Not homage or recognition but worship. And that is exactly what they did when they found him.
So these are the ﬁrst Gentiles and maybe the ﬁrst humans to actually WORSHIP Jesus. He is truly “ Good new for all peoples” as the angels proclaimed to the shepherds. Matthew 2:1-12.