Christmas Comes Again
It’s another Covid Christmas with Omicron arriving just in time for the holidays. Oh dear.
But despite the sobering reality of a pandemic with a new variant and the rising cases causing more holiday fear and less cheer, we must pause to celebrate in ways old and new.
How are you celebrating?
As a Christian, I’m celebrating in old ways using Advent devotional readings as a guiding weekly structure to anticipate the “coming”—both Jesus’ coming to earth as a baby and Jesus’ future coming again as reigning King.
And in a new way I’m loving the lights and festive décor. Since mid-November, I’ve made little Christmas cozy corners at home, using birds and berries as a theme and of course lights—lights everywhere. I ought to invest in company stocks for batteries since I’ll go through several to light wreaths, garlands and anything that will sparkle and shine. Outside, on our street, it seems everyone has invested in more lights. This year the lights are particularly spectacular, except for ours. At dusk each night I’m like a child waiting for Santa. I can hardly wait for the lights to come on and transform the street into an electric galaxy of sorts. I LOVE IT! Although flashy, even gaudy in places, the lights reassure me that darkness does not destroy all. So I’ve been celebrating in a quiet, reflective way.
I wonder if that’s the way we are heading—towards a quieter, more at-home sort of reflective celebration of Christmas. A Christmas without the crushing crowds at the mall, without the rah-rah workplace parties, without the big extended family gatherings. And if that’s the case, may I suggest a simple mindful practice of sitting with a Christmas memory--something you can do several times over the holidays.
Choose a memory—nothing traumatic. Choose a memory that makes you smile. If it’s hard to conjure, listen to five minutes or so of Dylan Thomas’ 1952 recording of A Child’s Christmas in Wales.
To start, light a candle or turn on soft lights. Call up a memory. Once you have your memory fixed in your mind, sit with it. All cozy and calm. Breathe deeply and luxuriate in the images of a Christmas past.Who is there? Where exactly are you? What's happening? What do you smell? What do you see and hear?
Now, breathe again and give thanks for the gift of that memory. Gratitude grows happiness. No matter the darkness and difficulties of the past year, we are here, and the lights are on, shining still because December does not delay or disappear. Christmas comes again.