Tuesday, 1 January 2002

Christmas Past?

I write on 27th December with Beccy and Jemima (our now nearly month old daughter) gone to try their luck in the sales.  I’m listening to the ‘Beautiful South’ CD that I bought for Beccy (don’t tell her or she’ll get suspicious as to whom I really bought it for) while Imogen is in the next room dancing to Bob the Builder, Tweenies, Teletubbies et al, from the tape bought by her uncle Andrew.  Not long ago the two of us where racing round the room to Jingle Bells – at Imogen’s request – but isn’t it strange how, as soon as Christmas Day itself is over, all those Christmassie things begin to feel a bit past their use-by date?  Already people are probably looking back to that special excitement that actually builds to a climax sometime late on Christmas Eve.
It’s ironic in a way because Christmastide of course extends all the way to the eve of Epiphany.  And even then its not supposed to be the end: Epiphany marks the bursting forth of the Christmas message into the wider context of our lives and the whole world.
When the song of the angels is stilled
when the star in the sky is gone
when the kings and princes are home
when the shepherds are back with their flocks
then the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost
to feed the hungry
to heal the broken
to release the prisoner
to rebuild the nations
to bring peace among the people
to make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman – from the Christmas Card ‘Christmas Begins’

Some of the feelings of Christmas may be shortlived (hopefully among them that of being overfed) but the inspiration of Christmas should stay with us and propel us not into short lived resolutions but ongoing resolve to bring God’s kingdom and peace on earth.
A Happy New Year to you all from Beccy, Imogen, Jemima and me.