On this Twelfth day

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5 He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9 he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14 this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory. ~NRSV Eph 1:3–14

Every year I struggle with when to take down the Christmas decorations. Growing up we always seemed to take them down New Year’s Day. However, knowing that the “Christmas season” for the Church is the 12 days from Christmas Day to Epiphany, the day we celebrate the arrival of the Wisemen, I have tried to keep my decorations up just a little beyond the New Year. No matter when I take down the decorations, it always makes me a little nostalgic and even kind of sad to see all the lights put away.  But in my musings, as I gather items to be boxed away I am reminded of something I have read earlier…

“For us, Christmas [should be] an even bigger celebration than Easter, because for God to be born as one of us in this world among the animals and in a poor family shows that humanity is good, flesh is good, nature is good, and this world is good!

Thus, the trajectory of history is positive. God is saving history, not just individuals. Instead of dreading eternal punishment, we live in faith that the whole map of reality is summed up and revealed in one human life, so we can see it from beginning to end. Inside this evolutionary trajectory, we can see that even “evil” and suffering will be used for good; they are the friction against which evolution’s wheels turn toward wholeness and new forms of life. Christ is both the Alpha and the Omega of history (Revelation 1:8), naming it correctly at the very start and forever alluring it forward. Love is both the cause and the goal of all creation. This is a meaningful universe, and meaning is what the soul needs to thrive.” ~Richard Rohr

This may be the “last day of Christmas,” but it is not the last day of hope. Our hope is eternal. We know the end of the story. May you find the courage to live this day as if you believe that ending.

Dear God, Thank you for sending your love down to us for Christmas. Help me to live as if that love resides inside my heart. Give me the courage to share your good news that this love is greater than the hate and fear I see in the world this day. Amen.

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