Although the rest of the world celebrates the turn of the year, I am trying to remain in the reality that a new year began back on the first Sunday of Advent.

Although the rest of the world is ready to move on, clean up the Christmas decorations, try to get back to life as usual, the Christian calendar reminds me that I am still in a season of celebration.  I am trying not to “move on” but rather like Mary to “ponder all these things in my heart” or like the shepherds, remain “amazed at all I have seen and heard”.

I wonder what that first week was like for Mary and Joseph.  Did they find themselves staring at this Baby and remembering angels’ words, reatives’ reactions and the long journey they had traveled – both physically and emotionally?

And then, perhaps when it was time to return to “life as usual”, they take this new Baby up to the Temple.  In an act of getting back to “normal life”, they take the Child to be circumcised and to name Him Jesus.  It was a “normal ” action for every Jewish boy, but this day would not remain normal.  Instead, it would recapitulate them back in to the wonder and celebration.

<Read Luke 2:25-38>

Both Simeon and Anna remind me that because of this Story – because of this Child – I cannot ever fully move on and go back to normality.  Everything has begun to change.  An old man’s eyes have seen God’s salvation for all peoples.  In the tiny body of this Baby is found “a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel”.

Then he is joined by an old woman, rejoicing and giving thanks, who can’t stop talking about this Child.  She takes me back into celebration and reminds me not to move too quickly away from rejoicing and giving thanks too soon.

So it is my/our challenge – to remain in this season of celebration for a few more days.  While the rest of the world moves on to “buisines as usual”, I am called to remain in a state of awe and wonder, rejoicing and thanksgiving, pondering and treasuring.  This is tough work.  This is the great privilege of those of us who follow this wonderous and amazing Child.

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