christmas is over, sort of. i mean, if you're in canada saturday was boxing day, and that's all part of the tradition. for you americans that's a day of a lot of shopping with deals and such similar to our black friday--not a day when people fight in the streets. or maybe if you are really unique you do that whole 12 days of christmas thing, and you're only on the 4th day of christmas. i hope you're loving your calling birds.
actually what that holiday corresponds to is an event in the church calendar called epiphany. we don't usually celebrate epiphany, or at least i've only once been a part of a church/community that did. and i don't know why we don't. it is the day to commemorate the revelation of God in human form. maybe we've tried to wrap all that up into christmas. but the problem there is that we have the conception of a little baby. easter reminds us of the cross and resurrection. but there is such a value in celebrating just the simple fact of God being made man and dwelling among us. it is a beautiful thing.
in the west epiphany is generally celebrated as the revelation of God given to the gentiles. this is represented symbolically through the coming of the three wise men to visit Jesus. this is something else that has gotten wrapped up in christmas, but it's pretty clear that the wise men were not there at the birth. they were even perhaps as much as two years after the fact. so christmas, no. epiphany, yes. and they were certainly not jews. in the east they celebrate the event drawing more on the baptism of Jesus to symbolize the meaning. this actually makes a little more sense to me. but you can celebrate it either way you like.
i believe the date this year is on january 6th. i think it always is, or a sunday close to that date. so celebrate it. and you can count these 12 days of christmas leading up to it (do the math: 25th plus 12 takes you to jan 5th--funny how it works like that eh? almost like they planned it).
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.
You will enlarge the nation of Israel,
and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest
and like warriors dividing the plunder.
For you will break the yoke of their slavery
and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.
You will break the oppressor’s rod,
just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.