It is almost a new year. I find that I am not quite ready for 2023. It seems that we should not be entering a new calendar year because there is so much that is on my to-do list that should have been completed in 2022. Flipping over the calendar (for those of us that still use a paper calendar) can be a stressful act. It is stressful for all sorts of reasons. Stressful because there are so many things left undone. Stressful because there are so many things coming up.
Flipping over the calendar can also be an act of relief. Relief because there are so many things we’d like to flip the page on. Relief because there are things that we hope can be left behind in 2022. There can be so many emotions tied up in a day on the calendar.
As I drive around town at night, I see fewer houses with Christmas decorations up, or at least those lights are not being lit up at night. It has been a bit cold so some of you are waiting to take them down. Others of you have braved the cold and taken down the Christmas lights. If you haven't, I am sure it’s on your list of things to do here shortly.
If you’re out in the stores, it sure seems as if they have moved onto the next big holiday. Right after Christmas Day, the stores put up those New Year’s decorations. In a few days, they will be putting up Valentine’s Day decorations.
I find it odd that we rush into the Christmas season way too quickly, but then we put it away so fast. Decorations go up after Halloween. We pass right over Thanksgiving, and we move to Christmas.
As a culture, we skip Advent, the season of waiting and preparation before Christmas. And once Christmas comes, we put everything away almost right away. It seems we have had enough of Christmas by the time it comes. There are 12 days of Christmas that start with Christmas Day. We don’t seem to want to linger on Christmas.
We seem to rush onto the next thing. This year, instead of rushing onto the next big thing in our lives, maybe we should just pause a bit. Instead of flipping the page on the calendar, maybe we should just linger here a bit. It is perfectly fine to take some time to reflect on the past year and celebrate the good things and grieve the hard things.
At Christmas, we celebrate Emmanuel, God is With Us. During this period of lingering, take the time to ponder this miracle of a God that loves us enough to come to us.
Pastor for Care and Community