The Ending Week Minus the Tinsel
This morning's early walk in the neighbourhood seemed unusually balmy. One neighbour's front yard is grassless and dedicated tastefully to perennials, driftwood, shrubbery and a few figures. I noted some blossoms still on the wild purple asters.
But then behind, quite incongruously, some Christmas candy canes and other commercial ornamentation. The guy next door to her had an eight foot tall plywood Santa. And all of this several weeks before the Holy Week. (Dare I mention its name? Christmas.)
The fuss all around and in the malls suggests the following. If you love the Holiday Season:
You will love decorating.
You will love shopping.
You will love partying.
You will love the parade with the red-suited Fat Man.
You will love updating your friendship letter accompanying the cards.
You will love the early purchasing and wrapping and baking.
You will love the "Black Friday" frenzy. (late November)
You will love LCBO and liquid hospitality.
You will love the melancholy tunes of Matthis, Carpenter, Crosby and King Cole.
You will love delivering tuna and peanut butter to the Food Bank.
You will love the wieners and beans put out at the downtown "Poor Boys' Luncheon".
You will love family.
But all of these several weeks of celebrating things loved will miss the awesome thrust of the week that ends the year. What, I might ask, is being ended?
The sense of an aloof, uncaring God.
The endless struggle to perform in a man-made code of right-living.
The sense of fear for what lies ahead.
The sense of puposelessness in all your best efforts.
The sense that your sins and shortcomings will never let you go.
The genuine dread that you do not enjoy a single real and devoted friend.
In that ending week we remember how God's Eternal Fellow left paradise in exchange for a cradle and diapers in a rude animal shelter under the tender care of a devout but frightened Jewish teenager. He began to live in our skin so very well and to learn in a new element the highs, the lows and the challenges of the mortal sphere.
And in the coming festive pause, that is all of our confidence and hope. Worthy of worship. Worthy of numerous quiet meditations with New Testament in hand. This Babe became spotless sin offering, conqueror of the grave and our Great and Compassionate High Priest.
Do ready yourself for His arrival.
See also the earlier poem "Bustling Bethlehem"