Monday, January 5, 2009

Twelfth Night

Tonight is Twelfth Night, the end of the Christmas season. Traditionally it is the night of taking down the greenery and decorations, but also of one last party. Christmas is such a joyous time. A time of recreation and rebirth. Yesterday's Gospel reading was from John 1:1-18.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

There is something so exciting about Christmas for me which is not always easy to explain, but it has to do with things being put to rights, as Lewis or Wright would say. Christ has broken into our broken world, not to destroy it, but to recreate it - to save it! That is true for everyone, which means there is a purpose to every life and everything. Where we have gone wrong, God can make right, and will make right for those who trust in him. There is no reason to despair, no existential angst that we must bear if we are to face reality, because God the Father through God the Son is making all things new, and has given us a glimpse of what is the real reality. Even more amazing is that we, through the power of the Holy Spirit are a part of that work even now.

This is hard to remember as we plod on through our everyday activities, which is why I love Christmas. Christmas reminds us that God is, has been and will be at work in the world, even when things aren't so clear to us on this side of time.

So, make merry tonight. Fill a wassail bowl to share with friends, sing a song and say a prayer. May God bless your days this year and may you walk in His steps.

Gloucestershire Wassail

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