So here we are, nearly a week into the New Year. I am choosing, just for a moment, to look back, to Christmas, and further, to Advent. Already it seems like a lifetime ago.
Last year, I kept Advent. I did not set out to do that but, as the season progressed, I realised that Christmas had not registered for me, had not begun to impinge on the expectancy of Advent. Three weeks in and, apart from a brief outing to buy presents, I remained impervious to Christmas. Not impervious to the expectancy but to the commercialism, the endless trumpeting about how many days are left to shop, to cram our baskets full of things we do not need and, in so doing, obscure the true meaning of the season.
The advertising that my friends, particularly those with children, complained about passed me by. I suppose it helps that I do not watch television and am not a recreational shopper!
So, for me, no angels, no tinsel, no tree, no nativity scenes, no carols….
After four weeks of quiet expectancy, of looking forward to a birth, of pondering on the lives of the patriarchs, the words of the prophets, the messages of the angels and the acceptance by Mary of God’s task for her, suddenly it was here! All in a flurry of glitter and tinsel, sparkling lights and mysterious packages; the glow of candlelight on the white of the altar linen, the lights sparkling and dancing, the ruby red wine and piled wafers speaking of life in abundance, the peal of bells and the solemn joyfulness of the organ, ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the newborn King…
Christmas was come, not in November, not during the weeks of Advent, but at midnight as Christmas Eve became Christmas Day and unto us is born a boy….
To everything its season, for everything its time. A time to wait,a time to listen, a time for joy, a time to be born…
Advent first, then Christmas Day and then the twelve days; the excitement of the birth followed by another time of waiting, for the wise men at Epiphany.
By which time, the old year has gone, the new year has begun and we can look back on a season lived and look forward in joy and hope.