Friday, December 23, 2011
So this is Christmas
"So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun" - John Lennon.
Thus begins the song of John Lennon. It is somewhat melancholy, and Christmas really can be melancholy if its sole purpose is taking stock of what we have done and left undone. Perhaps, this is one reason gift giving can become so frantic, so unrealistic.
Now, please understand - I believe that stock-taking is something that we need to do regularly. Thomas Cranmer, framer of our Book of Common Prayer, understood that we need confession and to hear the Declaration of Forgiveness. But, we make a mistake if Christmas is about us and our failings.
No, Christmas is about what God has and is doing. Christmas is, in part, God's response to our failings and, so it is a time of JOY. God has unilaterally declared peace with us. "The war is over" as Lennon sang. While Lennon was most likely referring to the Vietnam War, he spoke more truth than he knew. For, in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God has declared "The war is over." Remember the angels' song "Glory to God in the highest and Peace to his people on earth. " God has declared peace with us. This Christmas, why don't you and I declare peace with those with whom we have been at odds - family members, neighbors nearby and those who may be far away. May you have a Holy and Blessed Christmas and remember "The war is over."