-Margaret Shanley 2019
Several years ago I asked God what the point could be of all the celebrating, baking, cooking, and eating at Christmas time. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and pressured. God lead me right to this passage which is found in Mark 2:18-20: Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.
I said something like this: “Wow, God. You are right. The church gets to celebrate the birth of our Bridegroom, Jesus—the savior of the world!” Christmas is the time to do that! Since then I have really embraced Christmas, especially as a time to gather with friends and family, have different decorations around the house, eat food I only make or buy once a year, and revel in the moment. Remember, Christmas actually lasts for 12 days. As a side note, did you know that Ethiopians celebrate for 3 days whenever they have a wedding? So we have plenty of time to make memories and to wish each other Merry Christmas.
This revelation about Christmas came back to me in full force this year as my family mourns the passing of my dad. He always enjoyed Christmas with the special music at church and gathering with family and friends. My mother really wants to decorate for Christmas this year but wonders if it would be appropriate as she wants to be sure to remember dad. I said that Christmas means Jesus is coming into the world to conquer death and we would see all our loved ones again because of Jesus’ give of eternal life!
I pray that we all can celebrate Jesus’ birth as we are led…whatever the circumstances and what this past year has brought. I am going to rest in Jesus.