Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Christmas is not over yet

Having been woken up in the early hours of the morning with yet another Atlantic storm battering the bedroom windows and, I have to admit, feeling rather sorry for myself in the grip of a throat virus, I think it's not surprising that this is, so they tell us, the most depressing time of the year. The Christmas holidays are over, the winter weather has - at least - another two months to run before the tentative arrival of the British spring. It's dark, it's wet , it's miserable.
But ..... Christmas isn't over yet. Whatever the 'Twelfth Night' customs may be, the season doesn't end until Sunday. 
And the Crib stays up in church until Candlemas.....

This is part of an article, 'The Redemption of Time: The Christian Calendar as Civil Disobedience' by David Henson, giving one American's take on the end of the Christmas Season.  Read it all here 
"....This is the quiet power and justice of the Christian calendar. It offers us a chance to resist absolute conformity to the timetables of consumerism, to push back against a culture that requires us to find our worth in things, to stand defiantly against a calendar that hurries us past meaningful pauses and refuses to let us rest in peace.Christmas is not over, I keep reminding my friends (who roll their eyes). Leave up the tree, the decorations, the poinsettias, the Nativity. Slow down. Be in the moment and let Christmas continue to fill you with wonder. Cultivate Christmas. Or better yet, let Christmas cultivate you!There is a subversiveness to slowing down time that makes us uncomfortable because it forces us not to conform with the norms of consumer society. And difference, in a hegemonic consumer culture, is frowned upon; it creates cracks in a facade through which people might imagine another world, a better world.
In allowing the seasons of our faith to supplant the seasons of our shopping, Christians can begin to reject the wisdom of a consumeristic empire that says time can only serve mammon. It fights against the schedules of monetary time and the measuring of days in coffeespoons. It protests the notion that our months are billing cycles, our weeks meted out in paychecks rather than in meals with our families, memories with our friends, worship with our faith communities.The Christian calendar offers us an exit from consumeristic world, a path that will help to pull back the satiating veil of consumerism that hides its injustices and abuses to which we have all been contributors.To celebrate Christmas on Jan. 3, when we are all returning back to work, is a most basic act of civil disobedience, a simple act of justice, a spiritual discipline. To celebrate Christmas when others are rushing into the false hope of a new year is a reminder that our time is precious and should be savored rather than offered for sale. To continue to celebrate Christmas when it is already being forgotten is to begin to wake from the fog of consumerism to the new reality of the birth of Christ and the Reign of God.To celebrate Christmas today is to begin to squeeze ourselves and our camels through the needle’s eye...."
A 'basic act of civil disobedience'? A necessary resistance to the passing distractions of consumerism? - Perhaps, but only as a by-product of our observance of 'the circling year' on the long and tortuous road to the salvation of our souls and, yes, the Christian business of the redemption of time. All time is sacred and Christ is its Lord.

And from today's Office of Readings: 
"...In the mystery of our Lord’s incarnation there were clear indications of his eternal Godhead. Yet the great events we celebrate today disclose and reveal in different ways the fact that God himself took a human body. Mortal man, enshrouded always in darkness, must not be left in ignorance, and so be deprived of what he can understand and retain only by grace.
    In choosing to be born for us, God chose to be known by us. He therefore reveals himself in this way, in order that this great sacrament of his love may not be an occasion for us of great misunderstanding.
    Today the Magi find, crying in a manger, the one they have followed as he shone in the sky. Today the Magi see clearly, in swaddling clothes, the one they have long awaited as he lay hidden among the stars.
    Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder at what they see: heaven on earth, earth in heaven, man in God, God in man, one whom the whole universe cannot contain now enclosed in a tiny body. As they look, they believe and do not question, as their symbolic gifts bear witness: incense for God, gold for a king, myrrh for one who is to die...." 
St Peter Chrysologus

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