Wednesday, January 07, 2009

a different christmas

Our family had a very different Christmas this year. My wife and I had two airline tickets that we had never used, and they were about to expire. To make a long story short, she and our daughters went to Disneyworld in the middle of December. I spent that time in Advent solitude, pondering the mysteries of the coming Messiah and wondering at the same time if our congregation would end the financial year hundreds of thousands of dollars behind. I exagerate, but only a little. At any rate, we did not secure our tree until December 22, and decided that we would leave it up until January 6 (the twelth day of Christmas). We opened stockings on Christmas morning, and did not open gifts until Tuesday evening (1.6). This had several wonderful dimensions: I was able to rest and recover on Christmas day after our slate of worship services the day before; I was able to shop more leisurely in the days following Christmas; I was able to shop much more economically in the days following Christmas and as the new calendar year began; I was able to appreciate the fullness of Christmas, rather than moving on as December 26 arrived.

And so last night we ate a meal, played Charlie Brown Christmas music, shared gifts, removed the ornaments from the tree, and took the tree outside. I felt more engaged than I have in some time to this family experience.

And so I offer this possibility to my clergy colleagues: why not consider moving much of your Christmas experience to January 6, disconnecting it from your liturgical role on December 24, and using the intervening days to re-engage with both the season, family and friends?


Blogger Jim said...

What a great idea. For many years I get so wrapped up in the Christmas eve services and the busyness of traveling to see family the next day, and now the preparation of getting things ready for our son that Christmas seems like more work than anything else.

I love the idea of settling into the Christmas season and remembering the joy we are to experience. Thank you for the post and this blog.

3:37 AM  
Blogger lehall said...

We did a similar thing sort of by accident. And it turned out to be a real blessing. For me it's not so much the issue of shopping as it is the busyness of church and school obligations.
At some point my son will be old enough for Santa, and I don't know how that will change my thinking.

2:40 PM  

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