Celebrate

Celebrate. According to Dictionary.com, to observe or commemorate with festivities.

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This Christmas was a good one.

We went to the Christmas Eve service and drank in violin-laced music and candlelight. We ate soup and played late-night Hand and Foot. We slept late and ate caramel apple bread pudding. We lounged around and snapped photos in the snow. We cooked a collaborative feast and were lazy some more. It was quiet and sweet and lovely as Christmas should be. And, as always, I was a little sad to see it end.

I legitimately would love to celebrate the old-fashioned twelve days of Christmas.

It would give me an excuse to listen to Swingin’ Christmas a dozen more times.

It would also make Christmas Day seem like the beginning, rather than the day on which the whole season of twinkly lights and jingle bells comes grinding to a halt.

And really, isn’t that the way it should be?

Christ has come.

Immanuel is here.

God is with us.

Now the party can get started.

The truth of Immanuel, the miracle of God incarnate, is hitting me hard this year. Jesus is so often seems fictionalized, a tale revisited every year with Frosty and Santa, a symbol sectioned off in stained glass windows, a game-changing character in a holy book. I forget that he was also a real, actual guy.

He was born. He felt the scratch of the straw, watched smelly, rough shepherds jostle around him. He grew up. He smelled the salty tang of fish filling nets, heard the crowds murmur in confounded amazement at his words. He died. He flinched at the stab of the nail, sagged under the overbearing agony of crucifixion and sin.

Then he rose.

And even now, he is still Immanuel, God with us. He whispers I am here in the terrifying and jubilant and incredibly ordinary moments of my life.

And it’s all started by one messy birth and one holy night.

Christmas is just the beginning. Advent should be nothing compared to what comes after Christmas Day. There’s a whole lot more to celebrate, even after the tree sheds its needles and the twinkly lights come down.

Or we could just leave the Christmas trappings up. I still like the twelve days of Christmas idea.

Christ has come.

Immanuel is here.

God is with us.

Now let’s get this party started.

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