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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This is what we will read together each evening around our dinner table…

Christmas Evening Prayer

Yours is the day, O Lord, Yours also is the night….

If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,

And the light around me will be night,”

Even the darkness is not dark to You,

And the night is as bright as the day

Darkness and light are alike to You.

Call to Celebrate (Psalm 24)snow07

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;

For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
Who may stand in his holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.

He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.

Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
Selah

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Luke 2

Each night unwrap a book and read it together as a family

Song (Psalm 148)

Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.
Praise the LORD from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the LORD!

Blessing

img_0043Sweet Jesus, King of glory!

Now You sleep in a manger, in a stable poor and cold;

But for us You are the highest King, making our hearts into Your palace.

This season is born Jesus, Son of the King of glory.

This season is born to us the root of our joy.

This season unites heaven and earth together.

This season was born Christ, the King of greatness.

Here is a great resource for daily readings.  They are adapted from the Book of Common Prayer.

(I will post our Christmas Evening Prayer in a day or two.)week1-32

CLICK HERE