The lights are always on

Mark Chia CSsR

Christmas is an exciting time. Putting up the Christmas tree, buying presents for loved ones and friends, and enjoying a sumptuous feast is cause for great joy. But it’s a different story when the season for gift giving and merry making comes to an end. It can feel like an onerous chore to pack the decorations away for another year.

The buzz and the anticipation are missing. Without all the sparkle and lights, our homes and even the local supermarket seem devoid of colour and excitement. But Christmas doesn’t have to end … and it is not meant to end. Though the church’s Christmas liturgical season ends this Sunday with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Christmas itself does not end. This is because, at its very core, Christmas celebrates the incarnation of God as a human person, that God took on human form to live among us as one of us. God wanted to show us how much God wanted to be with us and to be one of us. Though the Christmas season officially ends, God continues that close relationship with us.

This calls us to transform the external celebration of the Christmas season with all its sparkle and lights into an internal celebration that occurs every day of our lives. This is the Christmas gift that keeps giving, because God wants to grow into an ever deeper and closer relationship with us. This is the eternal light that continues to shine deep in the centre of our lives. It is a relationship that is the source of joy, hope and love.  We are invited to bring that joy, hope and love onward to grow into better relationships with one another.

So, while the Christmas tree has come down and the decorations and the fairy lights are now neatly stored away in their boxes, Christmas itself is still waiting to be unboxed, to be unboxed in our spirits, in our hearts and in our lives. Faith, hope and love are not meant to be stored away, but to be shared and celebrated with others. Though the manger may be stored away, the living God is still very much with us. Christmas does not end, but continues to be around us and inside us.

Baptisms are about new beginnings and, just as Jesus entered a new beginning in his human life when he underwent baptism by his cousin John the Baptist, we too are invited to set out anew in new beginnings in our relationships with others. Christmas does not end, but continues in our lives and in the lives of others, forever bringing new life, starting new beginnings, with God ever present in our midst.

Mark Chia CSsR

© Majellan Media 2021

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