The decorations are down and the Christmas tree is looking a little sad outside by the green wheelie bin waiting to be collected. I normally quite like taking the decorations down. Suddenly we have all this space and it feels like possibilities are opened up. The thing I don’t like packing away is Jesus.
When our Christmas decorations go up, an empty basket is place beneath the Christmas tree to represent the manger. It helps to remind me through the busyness of Advent who we are preparing for. On Christmas morning, a doll representing Jesus is placed in the manger and he stays there all through Christmas. For me it is a really special moment but I suspect it is largely ignored by the rest of the family as another one of my eccentricities.
Usually the weekend before the children go back to school, the decorations come down and Jesus and manger are unceremoniously bundled into a bag and put on a shelf in the garage until next year. It is a moment that is counterintuitive but necessary - Jesus doesn’t stay as a baby in a manger and he is more than a cosy Christmas tradition.
On Sunday, we celebrated Epiphany: the visit of the wise men to Jesus. Simon reminded us that when the wise men visited, Jesus was no longer a baby in a manger but was more likely a toddler by then and certainly no longer sleeping in an animal trough. When all the drama of his birth had died down and the angels song had faded, the wise men crept in to worship Jesus bringing gifts fit for a king. For me there is something quite significant in that.
It is often easy to worship Jesus in the middle of a big festival with all the decorations, traditions and special events. In someways, it is much harder to worship Jesus in the midst of normal life; away from the excitement, when we’re back to the routine and the mundane. Yet there is something in the persistence of the wise men that calls us to continue to pursue Jesus and to worship him.
On Sunday we’re going to be revealing our new motto for the 2020 that will help us to focus our thoughts as we continue to worship Jesus. I hope you can join us.