It’s January 1st, the house smells of collard greens and Hoppin’ John, The Rose Parade is on TV and the college bowl games are coming up this afternoon. What’s not to like?
It is also a day to remember in the Church. Today is the day Christians observe the naming of Jesus. Remember Jesus, the baby whose birth we celebrated just a short week ago? He is the one who came to earth in order to save many from their sins.
Leading up to Christmas, I always get a kick out those church signs that declare Jesus as “the reason for the season” yet as the 25th of December comes and goes each year, I notice that many of those signs change. Now they are wishing passersby a Happy New Year and suggesting a good resolution would be to attend worship each Sunday. (and it world actually)
Several others have already replaced their nativity scenes with signs pointing to annual yard sales and food drives. A few even have their Christmas trees removed and placed them curbside for the county recycling truck to pick up and process into mulch. I wonder, what happened to the SEASON of Christmas? Remember Christmas, the twelve day celebration of the church that begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th?
Oh… you mean THAT Jesus and THAT Christmas!
As we fondly remember the year that is past and look forward to the new, let us pause amid our New Year celebrations, traditions and pastimes to reflect upon the one who fulfilled prophecies of the old covenant, in order that humanity may have life according to God’s new covenant in Christ.
After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2: 21 NRSV
Church Happy New Year Jesus New Year 2010 Christmas season college bowl games collard greens Hoppin John
Since the secular celebration of Christmas starts right after T-Day, people are tired of the whole thing by the time the real day roles around. My family-of-origin tradition was always to put the tree up quite late and keep it up until Epiphany. And one reason to do so was that my birthday is Jan 5, so relatives would come over. But that worked well since my circle of relatives and friends all did the same thing.
I find it hard to negotiate this holiday with a foot in both the religious reasons and also the secular celebrations. We don’t celebrate other people’s birthdays 22 days early, nor do we decorate for other birthday parties a month early. But I do go to parties gives by groups I belong to. I’d like to reserve these to the doldrums of January, but that is another story.
Once we had kids and needed to travel to relatives’ homes for Christmas, we found that putting up the tree late just didn’t work out: it was up and then we’d leave.
Regarding church signs: There is one (not-Lutheran) church (only one, thank goodness) sign I drive past frequently that always has an edge to it that grates on me. The sign writer is definitely not steeped in Lutheran theology; it frequently says something about hell or being almost saved not being good enough. akkkk.
My wife and I were in Wal-Mart yesterday and Christmas stuff was shoved to the back in the “clearance” section and out front were the Valentine’s Day stuff. How quickly we move on and forget.
A lesson in that for all of us.
During a trip to the mountains early this week, my wife and I noticed on Tuesday that Cracker Barrell had all of their Christmas items at 70% off. Had we been home we might have started some “early” shopping for next year. I tried to tell the cashier that it was stiull Christmas but all I got was a funny look in return.
Merry Christmas everyone!