Friday, November 30, 2012

Advent Season... Yes, Virginia, There IS Life After Christmas

I've written this post last year after Christmas.  As I re-read it, it struck me as appropriate to re-post it at this time, right at the beginning of the busy holiday season, since it seems to put some things into perspective... at least for Yours Truly. May His gracious Spirit guide your feet into the way of His peace.

I seriously considered my daughter’s suggestion that we keep Christmas decorations up until Easter. Besides a very busy January and a few items on my schedule with slightly higher priority than stashing baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Rudolph away in the attic, the idea itself didn’t seem too far fetched. In my head, you see, the two holidays go hand-in-hand. Without Christmas there would obviously be no Easter, and without Easter… well, without Easter the Christmas would leave us bankrupt, not only in our wallets and bank-accounts, but emotionally deserted and empty-handed, even while surrounded by all the trinkets and toys, disillusioned by the hollowness of the hope that, like weight-loss commercials, grossly over-promised but never quite delivered. So, I was perfectly happy to, like some devout frog, jump from Christmas to Easter and back to Christmas, trying to live off the fumes of spiritual adrenaline each holiday provides and skipping everything in between.

Today, however, without any forethought or planning on my part, spontaneously snowballed into a Putting-Christmas-Away party. It started as a creative (or, rather, desperate!) way to keep my children distracted from killing each other by having them take the ornaments off the Christmas tree. But, very quickly the cleanup party gained momentum and soon it turned into an all-out ‘reclaiming our spaces’ effort. As the nativity pieces were wrapped into tissue paper and placed in cardboard boxes, there was a clear sense of... relief? … A relief that we get our home back, undisturbed by the massive God-invasion of the last month… But, somewhere in the back of my mind, I noticed I was breathing easier because Jesus didn’t remain frozen in time as some perpetual baby sleeping in a manger, but moved on and grew up into an inquisitive teenager, a robust young carpenter good at working with hands, in every aspect maturing under the cloak of ordinary until the appointed time.

Much of his life was commonplace – no global audience, no ‘likes’ on his Facebook wall, no blog, no Twitter, no choirs of angels applauding his every move, no wise men worshiping the ground he walked. The divine wrapped himself in a regular human flesh and quietly receded into obscurity, eating, sleeping, walking, talking, resting, playing, partying, working – just like us! And, in a strange role-reversal, perhaps by the very virtue of not shrinking from becoming human in all its seemingly boring ordinariness, he somehow breathed unimaginable dignity, worth and purposes into everything you and I might do on any given day of small things. Making it holy.

At the end of the impromptu cleaning party I stepped back and looked at our home, the tree out, the boxes up, the pieces of furniture returned to their usual spots. Everything was back in its place and to an undiscerning eye, life seemed to have returned back to just as it has always been. But, to everyone who welcomed His coming, nothing was as it used to be. Everything changed… or, at least begun the long, slow process of transformation of every detail of our life into something that God Himself inhabits.

Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart…

No comments: