When I lived in England an unemployed fellow down the road from us in a little town in Wiltshire made the national headlines because he celebrated Christmas every day of the year. The decorations were up all year round. He played Christmas carols and had turkey and stuffing and all the trimmings and gave little presents and opened the Christmas Cracker. He watched old Christmas movies and sat down every afternoon to Christmas cake and a cup of tea and dozed on the couch. That’s right–every day of the year.
Grieving for Christmas
It was one of those charming English eccentricities that made living in England maddening and delightful–like their national game lasting for four days, and after twenty five years in the damp land I still didn’t understand it, or the way all their comedians think it’s funny to dress up like women–and it is actually quite funny.
Well I sympathize with that lover of Christmas because suddenly it is Epiphany and the Baptism of Christ and the Christmas tree is down and it’s Ordinary Time tomorrow and it’s a Monday and it’s business as usual. Once again I am grieving for Christmas. What I dislike about the Christmas Season is that it is too short and there is just too much liturgical richness crammed into it. It’s like Christmas fruitcake–too much of it and too much goodness all mixed together.
Here’s what I mean: especially this year with Christmas on a Sunday I feel liturgically cheated. We had Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the Sunday after Christmas, but there was so much to celebrate and so much to contemplate. There was St Stephen’s Day, the St John–both of them chock full of new angles on the mystery of the Incarnation. Then there was the Feast of the Holy Innocents, and the Holy Family and the Mother of God. Then Epiphany (can’t keep in on the proper day so it was transferred) and that bumped the Baptism of Christ from a Sunday too.
So, this morning I am missing Christmas. The celebration of the mystery of the Incarnation seems to have come and gone, and I’m resolved to keep Christmas alive, like the guy in Wiltshire. I’m not going to keep the decorations up and eat turkey every day. Instead, I am resolved to live the mystery of the incarnation in a fuller and richer way within the mystery of liturgical time. This is one of the reasons for the Epiphany proclamation–to be remind that within the mystery of time the mystery of the incarnation became true.
The eternal stepped into time, and so time is forever sanctified, and it is by conforming our lives more and more to the rhythm of time that time and therefore our lives (for what is our life but a sequence of moments in time?) are consecrated and our conformity to Christ is furthered.
So, as a New Year’s resolution, why not endeavor with me to this year more liturgically? Celebrate the feasts and seasons and so draw nearer in time to the timeless.