So the "official" Christmas day is over. Some are back to work. Some of us are recovering from the nonstop action; visiting, and perhaps eating or imbibing a wee too much. Perhaps you are gearing up for New Year's Eve. Many are just taking it easy today, after days and even weeks of endless preparation. For some it's a relief. Others, a let down, because Christmas didn't measure up.
It is good to step back and take in the bigger picture: Christmas isn't just a day. Christmas is a season that lasts until Epiphany (the feast of the Three Kings/Wisemen/Magi) on January 6. Perhaps now we can take in some more of the spiritual side of Christmas. Between now and January 6, let's start enacting the message of Christmas. Let's lay down the Christmas lessons we can carry with us into 2018.
1. Say YES when the Holy Spirit inspires you to do something new, or to help in new and different, perhaps even unexpected ways.
2. Let us get up, go out of our way to take part in something important at our places of worship or in our communities. Try something new. Make a sacrifice of time and effort. Let us push ourselves outside our comfort zones to serve Christ, to visit him in our community and around the world.
3. Let us cultivate Joy, a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5: 22-23). The nativity story is suffused with joy. Joy is contagious -- and is perhaps one of the best ways to bring healing, hope and a witness to Jesus around us. Joy isn't always natural to us; so we need to pray for Joy, surrender to Joy, and pray that God shows us the daily actions to take to make joy bloom in our lives.
4. Let us ponder and treasure Jesus in our hearts, like Mary did (Luke 2:19). Take time every day to reflect on our lives and how God is working in us and through us and around us.
5. Let us speak time with each other, encouraging each other, strengthening each other's faith. We sometimes forget how important our presence is to others. As we read the nativity story, we see how many people were involved and turned to each other. Let us not neglect the life of community and communal prayer.
6. Let us listen to our dreams, follow the star God shines on our paths. Let us take the solitary time needed to discern our dreams and the star light God fills our hearts with.
7. Remember: like Joseph, who said not a word in scripture, our actions speak volumes. Because of his goodness and trust that God was leading him, he had a part in saving not just Mary's and Jesus' lives -- but indirectly ours!
Let us reflect and cultivate these Christmas lessons -- and be a Christmas people all year long.
A Happy and Holy Christmas season!