Over the years, I have received many Christmas cards. They are beautiful, and I hold onto them for a while before I let them go.
Some Christmas cards are so special or personal that I just have to save them; they remain in a box tucked away for rainy days. Maybe they are reminders of someone’s care, and they bring with them a sense of belonging, love and comfort. At times, looking at these old cards brings a bittersweet feeling of remembering those who are not with us to celebrate anymore.
The whole season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany – the candles, the tree and the manger – remind us that we belong, that we are loved by God and that we are capable of loving. It is so easy to see the manger and feel love toward a small and vulnerable child. So moving is a Christmas service with candles and Christmas carols that melt your heart and – just for a moment – make you feel peaceful and full of hope.
Maybe it is important to hear the GOOD news, a foretaste of God’s peaceful kingdom, just like those shepherds who, upon hearing that the messiah was born in Bethlehem, were filled with great joy.
In the days after Christmas, we put away the cards and the tree, and we put Mary and Joseph and the child Jesus into a box. They will be patiently waiting for next year to come. My tree is already put away and I have packed my Christmas ornaments.
I'm also packing new boxes, because I am moving from Vandalia. Just like you, I feel that the part of Christmas that we all like (not the running around and worrying about gift buying and cooking) should stay and not be recycled or hidden in a box. I wish that I could keep it a little longer.
That one figure from the manger scene, the baby Jesus, who will grow up to die for us, is still on my table looking back at me. It is a reminder to me to look around and see the Christ Child, the growing hope for us every day, even in the uncertainty of today and tomorrow.
Maybe Christmas and Epiphany can be different this year if we leave the Christ Child out of the box. We must keep him in the center of our attention, search for him, wait for him and find him each day. This past Christmas and New Year might leave us with something promising, if we see the Christ child in our homes, in our churches, at our meetings, at work and in our relationships. Happy New Year!