Dear Loved Ones,
Alexander Smith the Scottish poet (31 December 1830- 5 January 1867) said:
“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”
That is a thought to hold, particularly as each individual celebration of Christmas arrives at a moment when everything seems to be falling apart. Amazing and harrowing consistency there.
We humans find ways in every new year to oppose one another, to grouse, to forget the past, to fight again and again, and to learn (if at all) only ever so slowly. So this Christmas we find ourselves within days of the ‘end’ of the longest war in the history of the USA (and that is saying something), and already the nation born out of that conflict in its present form, Iraq, is racing to fall apart politically and in terms of renewed and horrendous violence.
Yet we will continue to believe, many of us, that there is reason for war, and that the reason this happens now is because the war was not long enough. Might it not be instead, as the tiny Infant whose birth we recall this coming Sunday might remind us, that the peace is not long enough, and never has been?
How does Christmas Day hold all time together? That day opens up into an eternal Day without end; a day filled with the light of the Christmas star, with the light and the wisdom of the Child who grew up to be teacher and healer and self-giving-to-death Savior. That eternal Day is always this day. It is always directly before us. It is always right here. The only thing we need do to recognize that dawn is to accept it. But instead, if you’re like me, you probably think that today, just for one more day, I may have a better idea of how things should be. A better idea than the One who sent the Son to be born of woman in Bethlehem.
I pray that, despite our commercial and corporate lunacy, that this past has been a good year for you and your loved ones. I pray that at least some of these past months of days have opened to a glimpse of the Day that will last forever. And I pray the same may be true of even more of the days to come. Many of you I see only infrequently since my move to New York. That doesn’t mean that you are not on my mind and in my heart day to Day. You are. You are precious to me. You have helped to form my life thus far, and in doing so, know it or not, you have been tender and effective tools in the hand of God.
I pray for you tonight, that this Christmas – in the midst of the turning world – may be for you the day that holds all time together, and the opening to a new and beautiful Day.