The anti-culmination of Christmas

Perhaps it is because I was asked to introduce the advent scriptures at church this year that I am still thinking about Christmas. I think it is actually from what the leader of worship said at church this past Sunday.
In full disclosure, the leader this past Sunday was my husband. It is not often that he can really surprise me with what he says in leading or teaching. We talk about most things in advance and I know his perspective well. Sunday however he caught me by surprise and I can’t stop thinking about it. 
As he greeted everyone and invited them to do the same he talked of the post Christmas let down. That time when all of the preparation is over, meals, projects and gifts successfully made, accomplished, wrapped, consumed and enjoyed. The anticipation is over, the lights might still be glowing but it all looks a little worn, a little covered in bits of paper that didn’t make it to the trash and left overs that, while still yummy, have lost their magazine like presentation quality. As we wrap up, we look to the new year and have already turned our thoughts to “what next”. Heck even Target is decked out for Valentine’s Day! (Which quite frankly makes me want to boycott- seriously people- too early!!)  
But what about the real Christmas. That time when Jesus was born. For Mary and Joseph the culmination was not the birth of Jesus. That was the beginning. They now had a baby needing care. They now had in their arms one who would change not only the course of history, but of their daily lives. There was no let down after the birth of Jesus. Sweet coos, hungry cries, up in the middle of the night, worried if they would do the right thing, worried what others might do to or with him, longing to be good parents with no manual arriving with the child. Moments filled with delight and overwhelming satisfaction bumping right up to anxiety, insecurity and at times sheer panic. 
Perhaps Christmas shouldn’t be the culmination of anything, rather a reminder of the beginning. The beginning of life that can be changed daily. 
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About Amy Jacober

Amy Jacober (PhD, Fuller Seminary) is a youth ministry veteran with ministry and teaching experience. She focuses on practical theology, urban ministry, theology & disability, and marginalized communities. She is a volunteer youth worker in her church and community, lead consultant with Youth Ministry Architects and serves on the Young Life Capernaum national board. In her free time she can be found playing with her three young children, husband, and oversized dog.