Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those whom God favors!” When the angels had left them, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place.” – Luke 2:13-15 (NRSV)
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Oh, you thought Christmas was over?
Nope, you still have a couple of days to celebrate before Christmas officially culminates on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, a.k.a. the Commemoration of the Visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, a.k.a. Twelfth Night, a.k.a. the Twelfth Day of Christmas, when your true love is supposed to give you twelve drummers drumming, although what you’re supposed to do with twelve high-stepping, gaily uniformed musicians making a din is anybody’s guess.
Anyway, I hope your eggnog hasn’t soured, that you haven’t stashed the crèche, recycled the tree, moved on to other things. I hope you’re still in Christmas. I hope Christmas is still in you. Because here’s the thing: even when it ends officially, Christmas isn’t really over. It never is.
We’re always adoring on bended knee at cradles occupied by unfathomable babies. Always surrounded by glory-singing angels. Always offering ourselves in praise. Always finding God most tenacious and tender among the suffering, the displaced, the overlooked, the despised. Always subverting the violent power of kings with the serene insistence of stars, the meekness of stables, the divine dignity of human flesh, the generous offer of favor and grace.
Christmas never ends. And we’re forever beckoned to lend ourselves to its grace as it unfolds daily in us, our neighbors, and the love-starved, weary world.
Thank you, God, for “this thing that has taken place,” that’s always taking place, this gift, this challenge, this endless love.
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.