By Pastor Paula Burchill
For those of us with kids in school, the celebration of Christmas is not even half over, and I love it! The liturgy lover in me is enjoying how the way break has been is close to the way the church calendar works. Winter break began the 22nd, and we don’t go back to school until January 7, which means we have the entire 12 Days of Christmas off. For those of you not so liturgically-minded, the season of Christmas doesn’t start until December 25, and it ends on January 5, the 12th day. Then we celebrate the day of Epiphany January 6.
You wouldn’t know Christmas has just started with the way the culture does Christmas. The stores are marking down their Christmas wares to get rid of them. Christmas music is off the radio. Some people have even taken down their lights and their trees. Not me, and I will tell you why.
There is nothing left to do. The baking is done, the decorating is done, the presents are shopped for—all the hard work of preparing for Christmas has been done, and so I’m trying to just sit a bit and look at my tree. I’m trying to enjoy the cookies I made that are left and to go to some movies I have been waiting to see. I’m even trying to invite people over to just enjoy these days. I”m playing games.
I think our culture has lost a sense of waiting and of celebrating. Feasting follows famine—at least that is the way it used to be for humans. After the long and hard work of harvesting, you would celebrate with a meal and a fair and parties. After fasting during Lent, we feast for Easter.
I don’t know about you, but I often start feasting for Easter way before Easter, because that is when all the candy I like is for sale in the store! Our culture encourages us to feast all the time, and many of us do just so. But the days of preparation, the days of famine—those are what help you appreciate the feasting. And when there is very little famine, the feasts are rendered pretty meaningless.
That is why I’m trying to be better about feasting this Christmas—and by that I don’t just mean eating Christmas cookies. I’m feasting on the way time sort of slows down when you don’t have to make school lunches or address Christmas cards. I’m feasting on time with the kids, who stay in their PJs most of the day during break. I’m feasting on slower days at the church after Christmas, and having a chance to read and catch up on odds and ends.
So today, on this 4th Day of Christmas, whether you have kids around or whether you’re long past those days, take a moment to feast on something. God has given us so much, it’s worth celebrating. So take time to enjoy, because that is why the church has feast days. So we can sit and enjoy all that God has done and has given his children.