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The 12 Blogs of Christmas

December 27, 2011

When it comes to Christmas movies, you have to love the 80’s classics like Claymation Christmas and A Christmas Story.  With singing California Raisins and the infamous leg lamp, what’s not to enjoy? But one thing that always bothered me about these movies is their misconstrued idea of when “Christmas” occurred. Sadly, just like most of our society, the plot often centers on some kind of gift. The few moments where gift giving takes place often constitutes “Christmas.” Not sure what I mean? Allow me to share a few examples.

In A Christmas Story, Randy and Ralphie run downstairs on Christmas morning, overwhelmed with the packages and goodies piled under the tree. Randy instantly starts shaking and poking the presents, trying to figure out what’s what. Mom comes downstairs and says, “Randy no, wait for Christmas to start, honey.”

In a Garfield Christmas Special, John’s entire family has torn open packages in a manner of moments, and as they lounge in the piles of strewn paper and freshly opened loot, Mom proclaims, “Well, that was a very nice Christmas!” Garfield stops her saying, “It’s not over yet, one moment…” Just when you think he’s about to spout out a Charlie Brown-esque monologue explaining the true meaning of Christmas, he runs off and gets…another present.

Sigh. Christmas.

Believe it or not, this holiday encompasses more than just presents. I think A Charlie Brown Christmas did have it right when Linus stole the spotlight at the end, quoting the announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds from Luke’s gospel.

If you think about it, Christmas doesn’t just last a few moments, or even just one day. It is a whole season and even a whole mindset, and one that makes up a significant part of our faith.

The four weeks leading up to Christmas are called Advent. It is a time of preparation and getting ready. It is a chance for us to ponder what it means to welcome the Christ-child and how our lives will be different after. Christmastide is the season of Christmas from December 25th until Epiphany on January 6th. Often called the twelve days of Christmas, this time represents the journey of the magi as they made their way to find the child king.

In every nativity scene we often rush to put the wise men in the stable with the baby and the shepherds. But it could have taken months or even years for them to reach Mary and her child in the house, as Matthew 2 describes it. Instead of trying to speed through the entire story and finish it in such a short period, I like to give it time, ponder these words, and consider how things have changed now that Jesus has been born.

So let us celebrate this Christmastide. Let us allow ourselves the full season to consider the words of the scripture and the significance of a tiny baby, born fully God and fully human. It was, after all, the greatest gift this world has ever received.

During these days, instead of giving 12 drummers drumming, I’ll offer the 12 blogs of Christmas, a chance to reflect on our Advent season past and consider the words of the Christmas scripture once more.

Happy Christmastide.

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