Weekly Feature



2013-01-16 / Lifestyles

Let’s keep Christmas in our lives, year-round

REV. STEVE BIEGNER
Crisis Coordinator Still in One Peace

Friends, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Are you still celebrating? Did you make resolutions? You are several days in and have already broken them? Still going?

Maybe you’re reading this almost halfway through January and you feel that the joy of Christmas seems like months ago?

Two and three weeks can sometimes seem like an eternity with the things we have going on in our lives. That amount of time can have so much crammed into it and yet somehow still fly right by until we look back and say, “What happened?”

Maybe in the time since Christmas you’ve taken down decorations, packed up the seasonal stuff and tucked it all away for another 11 months.

Maybe you turned on the radio stations the day after Christmas like I did — the ones that were playing Christmas music since mid-November — and you were a tad surprised that they already switched back to normal programming.

Maybe the visitors have stopped, the parties have ended, and the travel has halted. The school/work/sports/activities schedule has geared right back up to its normal chaotic mode.

Or maybe you are still sitting in the manger with a newborn baby, surrounded by smelly animals, shocked parents and searching shepherds, and enjoying seeing how God just broke into today.

I hope you’re still there.

With the messy humanity of new life, the cries of new birth, and tears of joy pouring over a new child. With the divine of a new arrival.

I did it. I put all the Christmas stuff away.

One Christmas tree we had up fell over on Christmas night after dinner, and we dragged it to the curb later that evening. The other tree was at the curb five days later before I left town. There are next to no signs in my home that Christmas occurred. Or is there.

It might take a little more effort for you to maintain that spot next to the newborn God-presence in the midst of daily life.

It might take a little more work in the darkness of the cold January evenings and mornings to see that incredible warming light.

It might take some movement, some changes, some time, some prayer, some new practice or maybe even a spiritual resolution — or revolution — to allow this Christmas Day thing to be a today thing.

I recently returned again from Haiti where we connected the boys orphanage at Grace School to a power source with Solar Liberty Foundation. When the lights came on, cheers erupted. While we were there, we launched Grace Church and had the first worship service where 12 people were baptized.

Our team raised funding to host a meal for the school children and feed 400 kids and staff who don’t get normal healthy meals while the school is on Christmas break.

We played for a week with incredibly loving and accepting children who are just like our kids back home, merely wanting to laugh, play and love.

And I was right back in the manger.

But I didn’t need to be in Haiti to smell that straw and see that child and hear those shepherds arrive.

Those changes and moments are here as well with my own kids, with the communities I’m involved with, with the friends I laugh with, and with the world in WNY where God has planted me.

That manger is right here.

I need no new resolution to engage into it. Only some effort and readiness to see and be amazed. Because when I do — when you do — we will see the miracle that took place that day, this day and every day. That God has come not once, but every.

No season can change that, no tree can dry that out and no radio station can shut down that message. It happened and it will happen again. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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