Christmas is observed all over the world by Christians as they celebrate the birth of Jesus. Many people who are not Christians also join in with a celebration of gift giving and a reenactment of …
Christmas is observed all over the world by Christians as they celebrate the birth of Jesus. Many people who are not Christians also join in with a celebration of gift giving and a reenactment of family traditions; that could include decorations, special meals and gathering with friends and family.
The Christian Christmas begins with a celebration on the Eve of Christmas and continues for 12 days. The final day is January 6, Epiphany, the celebration of the visitation of the three wise men to honor the baby Jesus.
All our varied celebrations, church services, decorations, special meals and gatherings are the outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual event.
Christians believe that in the person of Jesus, God came into the world to live and die among us and to teach us God’s ways. To love God above everything else and to love each other. To see the light of God in all of God’s children.
That God chooses to come to us in brown skin, as a traveler coming from another region, born in a town where there was no room for him, homeless, speaks to Christians about how we are called to live into God’s ways.
In our world, there is much darkness. We don’t know what to believe or whom to trust; information and the internet give us many options, both good and bad. The pandemic has turned our lives upside down and many of us are suffering from illness, grief and soul-sickness.
In the Gospel of John, we read some beautiful poetry that describes how God comes into the world to be a light in the darkness of our lives.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." (John 1:1-5)
As the days grow visibly darker, our bodies yearn for longer, lighter days. In our hearts, we long for spiritual light. Christmas is the time we purposefully let that light of love into our lives as we welcome the Christ Child into the world.
And we respond with generosity, celebration and sharing. We reach out with that light to those who are travelers among us, those who are poor and homeless, those who sit in darkness.
Whatever your traditions are, enjoy them; pass the stories and traditions to your loved ones. Share your traditions and be curious about how your neighbors celebrate the light of Love that is reaching out to all of us in this season of Christmastide.
Enjoy all 12 days of Christmas. If you didn’t get everything on your list completed, you have all 12 days to celebrate and give gifts.
Take time to give each other the gift of our presence and our love, to celebrate the gift of love that God has given us at Christmas.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and may the Light of Love be ever-present in your lives.
Rev. Diana Southwick Scheide is the Canon Missioner of the Sullivan County-based Delaware Catskill Episcopal Ministry.
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