In the days leading up to Christmas the comment I heard more than any other was “I’ll be glad when it’s all over!” That’s hardly surprising. The so-called “season of goodwill” can be exhausting and as the TV soaps never fail to remind us, can strain relationships to breaking-point. It’s no wonder that so many people can hardly wait to get back to normal.
But to imagine that a return to normality signifies the end of Christmas would be to misunderstand its message completely. The Word was made flesh (incarnate) not to pay us a flying visit but to dwell among us; to be God-with-us (Immanuel) in every aspect of our ordinary, everyday lives. The tradition of observing a forty day long Christmas season, embracing the Epiphany and culminating in the feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemas), gives us time and space to reflect on what the incarnation might mean for us. Christmas isn’t over yet. It’s only just begun!
Hark, hark, the wise eternal Word,
Like a weak infant cries!
In form of servant is the Lord,
And God in cradle lies.