Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Clichés

Some people seem to think Christmas is for children - I'm realising that now I have one. It comes across in the comments people make, the excitement they project onto our first Christmas with a baby.

I understand it to a degree. Christmas, as it's been envisaged in recent times, is primarily child-centric. The Santa Claus and presents are best if you're little. Children bypass the cooking, the shopping, the family politics and everything else that can make the season difficult for adults. It's uncomplicated and magical. A fantasy.

But I don't celebrate that Christmas. The Christmas I celebrate is very much for adults. For grown-ups who stand at the edge of the transition into another year and wonder what on earth is ahead and how we will manage it. For the ones who are aware of the world we live in, the realities of shadow and fear, but resolve to live lives of love with calm, glad hearts anyway.

I celebrate Emmanuel, God with us. The great rescue mission to realign humanity with our best selves, to make us whole in all things and proclaim us loved for better or worse. And I celebrate the second advent, the one we don't talk about much. The Jesus who isn't meek and mild, a helpless babe. The Jesus who is Judge and King, Ancient of Days, returning victor, righting everything eternally.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.

Isaiah 9v6-7

We live in the in-between. The Christmas story is not over yet, and we are not forgotten. It's a hope that is so easy to overlook. But for those of us who see it, our celebration is year-long and better with every passing day.

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