On this sixth day of Christmas, I am thinking of Eugene. I imagine Eugene interviewing Christians throughout the world and marveling at how they take Christmas to, as he would say, a Hole. Notha. Level!
For centuries, Christians have taken Christmas to another level, extending the celebration of God's human birth over the course of many days. All this joy could never be packed into one day; Christmas enjoys an entire season. To be fair, American advertising observes a "holiday season," too, but it ends abruptly on Christmas Eve, just exactly when Christians wrap up their Advent candles and take up the Christmas torch.
Here are some ideas for believers who want to extract all the blessings from this blessed season. Merry Christmas!
- Keep up the Christmas tree and decorations. Pope Francis will enjoy the Vatican crèche and other Christmas trimmings until February 2nd. We'll be in good company as we keep watering our Christmas trees.
- Stay in good voice. Sing a favorite Christmas carol every night!
- Write thank you notes or other letters. This holy season fills us with gratitude for the gratuitous love of God. Let's write thank you notes for holiday presents we received, certainly, but perhaps we can also send unexpected notes to folks whose very presence is a gift all year long. If we didn't have time to add a personal greeting in the Christmas cards we sent out, maybe now is the time to catch up with a friend in a more intimate way.
- Hang out in God's house. Churches burst with festive believers on Christmas day. Why not go back for more? It might be a bit easier to find a seat these days. . . .
- Cherish the memories. Wouldn't it be fun to receive little notes from Christmas Past? Jot down your thoughts about special moments from this holiday and tuck them into the decorations you put away. Next year as you unpack, you'll come across this Christmas note and savor the season all over again.
- Pray. Let's dedicate a little extra time to pay attention to our relationship with our awesome God. Prayer can take many forms. We can
- sit silently in front of the fireplace or Christmas tree
- sing a Christmas carol
- read the Bible, perhaps imagining ourselves in the Scriptures with Jesus
- participate in a church service
- serve others: visit the elderly, volunteer in a shelter, contribute to a charity, etc.
- add a little prayer time to the family routine, either reciting a favorite prayer from memory or inviting family members to offer spontaneous prayers in their own words
- Other ideas? Add them to the comments below.
Our desire to savor the blessings of Christmas is itself a gift from God. Joy to the world!