First Sunday after Christmas Day January 1, 2017

The Church Calendar allows us to go from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1 as the Christmas event.

Dec 25 was peaceful day for me this last week. The entire week left me meditating on the meaning of Christmas and on the different people/players in the Christmas story. http:/lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/lections.php?

There was Mary, her family.  There was Joseph, his family. There were the Shepherds and their families. There were dignitaries and their loyal adherents. Then of course there was the infant child who born with a name Jesus already given.

Each group brought with it a series of resulting dynamics. Mary, a child herself was pregnant. She had those who believed the story as it was told to them. Then there were others who no doubt made up there own stories, believing Mary to be anyone from a devout woman chosen by God to someone being a scandalous child having relations with an older man. She had somehow convinced him to do the unexpected and have this “guy” actually stick with her. Joseph on the other hand had the right to chose a potential bride, even as young as Mary. Mary getting pregnant before the proper time was not in the script. The fact he did not reject her may have caused confusion and perhaps even consternation, but none-the-less he started a new life. The shepherds had a wild story to tell. This was not about wolves, bears, this was about angels and some overly bright star and a lady having a baby. The things “myths” are built around. Things that happen eventually getting talked about around a camp fire. “I remember when,” some would be heard saying for years later. Then there were those who in following a star would eventually meet up with a person they sought to see. A person they believed would have a special significance. Again as the years go by they would speak of an event that somehow became a defining moment in their “forever after.”

It has been a quiet week for me. I watched as events unfolded. Instead of experiencing a sense of aloneness I experienced a strange sense of inclusivity. The Salvation Army bell ringers were reaching out. The police were running their “blue” Santa event. The stores filled up with promoting special Christmas packages. There were children living with a stressful expectation. Would they be the recipient of a gift, perhaps something of great value like that first Christmas? The gift of a child. The gift of a child who’s story has been reborn in the world many times over. Random thoughts filled my mind. How would I “do” Christmas this year?

One day while in the grocery store I noticed a lady was pushing her grocery cart. She had a very young child sitting in the cart. The child was crying. It was the cry of a child hurting from something. A cross between whimpering and louder cries. Then as I walked into the next isle a little girl sitting in her father’s cart was asking what was wrong with her little brother Mikey. The father said he wasn’t feeling well. Somehow in the next isle we all ended up at the same place. A thought crossed my mind, would I dare act on it. I looked at the little boy. Then without warning, it was as if the sound of a telephone rang. I took my fingers and my thumb pretending I was holding a phone. The ensuing conversation happened loud enough for the family to hear. Hello Santa, how are you? Had I found the little boy yet? Santa asked. I haven’t found him yet I said. What was his name again? Mikey. The family went absolutely silent. You have a favor to ask of him Santa. Yes Santa said. When you find him…the little boy spoke up, I’m Mikey. I said really! Wow Santa, Mikey is right here! Mikey’s face lit up. The older sister said WOW Mikey, Santa knows your name. He wants your help. I then looked at the mom and dad and asked permission to talk to Mikey for a minute. They said yes. I walked closer and said Santa wants your help. You see Santa will not be able to be at your home when you open the presents. He said your mommy and daddy are very special people. They love you and your sister very much. Santa wants them to know how much he loves them. Would you give them a great big Christmas hug from Santa. Tell them Santa says “I love you both so very much.” Mikey looked at his mom and dad and said yes. Then Santa wants your mom and dad to give you and your sister a big hug too. He wants you to know how much he loves you and your sister. Mom and dad smiled and touched their children. They said I love you. Then I was gone.

As I was getting into my car I saw in the distance the family was leaving. The children were laughing. Mom and dad were talking with each other. I wondered what this had to do with the Jesus story. Perhaps Christmas is not just about the birth of Jesus but it is also about how the life of Jesus is reborn into our traditions and practices.

I hope you had a very special Christmas and you understood once again that God desires you to know of His love for you. Have a Happy New Year.

A CHILDREN’S CONCERT

Oh Holy Night https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTQKU6uUBjU Silent Night https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAH0qm6OWKk

O Little Town of Bethlehem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpHY3jU27dc

Do you Hear what I Hear? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFQHoKjHYwM

Carol of the Bells https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl1pcHHWJmY

PRAYER: Today Lord is the beginning of a new season. There will be new challenges added to those that are ongoing. In each moment we are introduced to the new birth of Jesus Christ. Enable us to know in a very real way what this means to us personally as well as in our ministry of service and caring. Enable us to rise above the pressures of the day and celebrate your intentions. In Jesus name. Amen.

Benediction:

King’s College Choir https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HItFqKBAQE

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