The season descends upon us. It is cold and dark. The longest night of the year has just come. We gather in families and celebrate. After over a month of waiting we celebrate the Birth. We celebrate the love we share and the affection we feel. Our love is only a shadow of the love the Creator has for us and the Creator’s love has been demonstrated in the Christmas Miracle.
I listened in an NPR show yesterday, On Point, I think it was and on the show they put the holiday stress of family on the discussion board. It would seem that stress, anxiety and emotional turmoil are as universal a Christmas theme as gift exchange and hymns. Everyone feel it to some degree. The was not a single caller that we could not all relate to in some way.
Opening to talk about the stress and turmoil is always therapeutic. The are so many flavors of this particular pain and pleasure. For my own self, like many, my family is growing and our traditions are changing. This can be painful. It reminds everyone that we are not who we once were. The change reminds us that the times we shared as children and young adults are gone and are never coming back. We are different people this Christmas. It can be harder to remember when we see little of each other over the year.
On the show on caller brought up a great point. His family had all but abolished the cultural norms of Christmas. He said that on a base level his family still needed to gather. Now I realize he was speaking of his need to perpetuate the cultural habits of the season, gift exchange, over indulgence, etc, Personally, I can’t wait. But I thought of a deeper base need.
This time of season, we all share a basic human need to gather together with other we know and love and trust. We need to reaffirm connections and re-establish bonds. The cold drives us to huddle together in one home. The long darkness drives us to fear the outside world and cling closely to each other. Christ, Saturn and Solstice give us reason to remember the Divine Light that animates us and celebrate that Light in others. We remember that the sun will return and spring will come. We remember birth in the cold dormancy of winter.
So despite frustrations over family, inconvenience of travel and expense, we gather together after over a month of waiting the share joy that our Creator loves us and wants us all to be together. We forgive and we remember. And next year, we will do it again. Amen.