Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas! (gotta soak up every day of it)

I expect that for most all of us, "Christmas" has passed, in the sense of play, of gifting, of family visits, of church celebrations, of random "Merry Christmas"s at the store. Maybe like me you still have the decorations up. But even so, something about the colored lights looks different to me, nine days after the day of Christmas.

One funny thing about the Christian Calendar, or "Church Year" is that it's often pressing a little beyond our expectations. Like how today, even when the lights don't seem so bright to me, it's still Christmas. Work is back, stores have cleared their shelves of whatever they were desperate to sell me two weeks ago, the burdens of life have redoubled their pressure upon me after that blessed lull...and...God is still showing up among us, personally, face-to-face, right-here-in-the-world.

To soak up the surprise of this, we'll given ourselves a whole church season of "Epiphanytide" between now and Lent.  

The reality that God would be still with us was often surprising to ancient Israelites, was surprising to those whom Jesus touched, healed, welcomed and confronted, and is apparently still joyously surprising me, this Christmas.  

In these last 3 days of Christmas, what could our "continuing Christmas" give you the strength to do? The peace to accept? The joy to appreciate? The courage to say?  

Merry Christmas!