January 3, 2023

From the Rector…

There is a popular meme amongst Episcopalians of Lady Mary of Downtown Abbey, standing next to a Christmas tree and saying, “The tree remains up until Epiphany…You’ll get used to the way things are done here. Properly.” It is our slightly snarky way of telling the world that they’ve ended the season way too early. A bit ironic we all agree, the world’s Christmas calendar is so very different from our own.

Today is the 11th day of Christmas…. Yep it is still the Christmas season—Twelfth Night is January 5th and the Wise Men will arrive on Epiphany, January 6th. Sunday, we celebrated Christmas Lessons and Carols. The church is still adorned with greenery and poinsettias—albeit they are on their last leg. And though the New Year has come and gone, we anxiously await the arrival of three wise men following a star.

This past Sunday, someone asked me how my Christmas was—note the past tense. I didn’t correct them as I knew what they meant, but I did offer that Christmas Day was spent with church and family and now I am simply soaking in the season. And I am. Whereas the pre-Christmas experience (aka Advent) at church is filled with preparations and busyness, the Christmas season is always a much more relaxed and slower pace. And, as there are twelve days to the season, I try to get the full benefit!

My plan this week is not to obsess about all the New Year’s resolutions I will end up breaking in a few short weeks (if not days), nor to make sure every little thing is done at church before I leave for the day. I try hard not to schedule too many meetings or other activities in these two weeks. I plan menus to cook at home and movies to watch each evening so that I might really simply enjoy the best of my church and home life. It is the way I wish I could spend every week at work—but I know that we have a lot going on at CoA and that is not practical or possible. So, I will soak up this time for all it is worth and get refreshed and renewed. 

Come January 9, it’ll be full speed ahead straight through Easter and that is ok. I like going ninety miles an hour with my hair on fire in part because I know I will get those moments of quiet and peace that make the ninety miles an hour possible and fun. It is my own particular blend of life—sometimes that blend means I’m putting four shots of caffeine in my coffee and other times I am drinking herbal tea—and it is all good. The times of productivity are positive. but when I haven’t taken the time to soak up what has been accomplished, the rate of return diminishes.

Its not too late. Even if you are one of those folks who packed up Christmas on December 26, you can still spend some time soaking up the season. Watch a Christmas movie. Listen to Christmas music. Light a candle that has your favorite holiday smell. Take some time to enjoy the gifts you received under the tree and remember the gift God has given us through his incarnation. Spend time with family or friends without agenda or expectation. Stop doing the hustle and bustle dance that defines so much of our Decembers. Be joyous. Whatever you wish Christmas had truly been this year, make that happen. It will make all the difference next year when the season comes again.

It’s the 11th day of Christmas. Take a breath and sit in the peace and joy that the season inspires.

Light and Life,