I've been thinking about getting back into the swing of things. The holidays are over which leaves me in a somewhat melancholy mood.
Even though I might sometimes decry the commercialism of the season something about the decorations in the stores, even when they go up right after Hallowe'en, got me into the spirit of Christmas.
The season brought with it the obligation to get together with grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and all of the rest of the relations, but I looked forward to that.
For me, a pastor, the season brought with it some extra work and extra worship services and extra sermons to preach, but I enjoyed that.
And then there were the presents. I enjoyed going out or going online to shop, to try to think of something that my wife or my kids would like to find under the tree. And even though I'm 43 years old, I still enjoy getting presents the way I did when I was seven.
As much as we, in the church, like to emphasize that the Christmas season doesn't end on December 25 it still feels that way. We left the tree and the decorations and the poinsettias to decorate the church, we even sang Christmas carols on the two Sundays after Christmas, because the twelve days of Christmas begin on Christmas Day and run into January.
But for some reason it didn't feel like Christmas anymore. The TV channels stopped playing Christmas specials and movies. The radio stopped playing Christmas music. And somehow I wasn't able to maintain that Christmas spirit in my own heart and mind.
Then the kids went back to school this week, I had to start setting my alarm again in the mornings and getting up earlier than I ever did the past two weeks. It's back to the old routine. It's kind of a drag.
But then I remembered a song that I haven't heard in many years. As a kid I had a Sesame Street Christmas record. It's certainly not a religious song but I think it can have religious significance. It's called "Keep Christmas with You All Through the Year." The message of Christmas is that God became one of us and came to be with us.
And that Sesame Street song is significant because that Christmas miracle is not something that happens on one night of the year or for twelve days of the year or even for one month a year. It's not a message that only rings true as long as there's a fir tree standing in your living room or as long as Christmas carols play on the radio.
We believe that Christ comes among us whenever his followers gather to worship. We believe that Christ comes among us whenever we hear his word proclaimed. We believe that Christ comes among us whenever we share in his holy meal. We believe that Christ comes among us whenever we show love to our neighbours.
So I'll look forward to hearing those carols again next December. And I'll try to remember that the miracle of Christmas, of God coming to be with us and among us, happens all year long. But I don't have to enjoy getting up with the alarm again.