I’ve always had a hard time when exciting experiences come to an end. Even as a child, after a long weekend I’d be overcome with sadness at the prospect of going to school on Tuesday morning. And I liked school! For me, I think it was about not wanting to let go of the moments when all seems right.
Christmas Eve is often about creating a moment when all seems right, or when things are as they ought to be. Maybe it’s the peace and quiet of snow falling gently from the dark sky. Maybe it’s Silent Night sung to candlelight. Maybe it’s the anticipation of Jesus’ birth. (And, if I’m being honest, it’s also about the excitement at opening gifts that was implanted as a child and hasn’t quite left yet.)
So Boxing Day was always tough — the excitement is over, as is the moment when all seemed as it ought to be.
But the disciplined Christian recognizes that Christmas is neither a day, nor a moment. Rather, Christmas is a season lasting 12 full days, ending with Epiphany (on January 6 in our tradition). And that’s good for someone like me who has trouble when fleeting moments have, well, fleeted.
That Christmas is a season and not just a day means we can take the time to soak in the significance of divinity and humanity joining, or the significance of God making God’s self known in a vulnerable baby, or the significance of poor shepherds being the first to know the Good News.
A hangover of Christendom is the holidays in this part of the world aligning with Christian holy days. Let’s treat these holidays as the holy days they ought to be: time to reflect, imagine, and envision God’s kin-dom fulfilled. And let’s enjoy the company of friends and family, maybe over meals and boardgames.
Regardless, Merry (Season of) Christmas!