Each year in the days following Christmas, I always remember one of my favorite Christmas cards, both sent and drawn by one of our talented parishioners. It was a picture of Santa Clause sound asleep in his rocking chair with the calendar on the wall reading December 26. I guess they don’t have a January newsletter at the North Pole.
As this Christmas was a particularly difficult one for me personally, thinking of this Christmas card made me wonder, does Santa get cranky during December under the pressure of making toys for the entire world? And then there is the real Christmas story. I’ve always had a soft spot for Joseph. The poor fellow; as if being taxed is not bad enough but to have to walk half way across the country just to give up your carpentry earn- ings, and to top it all off, when he finally arrives the only motel has no vacancy. Do you suppose he had a few choice words right then that were not recorded in the Gospels? And what about Mary? Nine months preg- nant and riding on a donkey. Need I say more? She surely had some moments that were not so meek and mild.
Well, maybe this isn’t the case. Maybe actually carrying the Son of God makes all the tension go away. This year, however, I found that just singing about him does not. The tension builds all through Advent with busy schedules and high expectations until by Christmas Eve I’m ready to tell Jesus himself “quit bugging me, and next year you can take care of your own birthday”. (Don’t worry, he and I have an understanding relationship.)
Now, finally, after all the pomp and circumstance is done and after waking from the Dec. 26th nap I am better able to focus on some of the most important messages of Christmas. And so, to singers and ringers, children and adults, instrumentalists and organists, from soloists to those singing in the pews; thank you. Together we celebrated well, the greatest gift of all. The gift of love and eternal life given to us is the form of a baby humbly born in a manger. Thanks be to God.