Aren’t the days AFTER Christmas the best!?
The weeks leading up to Christmas are like the last few days before a wedding, or working on papers during exam week, or the last few days of a big project at work. Fraught with anxiety and busyness, I often feel like I’m drowning in the details, and striving, but failing badly, at breathing underwater. It’s the classic Christmas dichotomy between what Christ does for us with his Immanence, and what we do to ourselves ostensibly to celebrate.
I rely on Sunday worship to come to the surface, to gasp at the oxygen-infusing, life-giving Ruach, the breath of God, to get me through the week. Like the chorus of the now classic Mary’s Song – Breath of heaven, Hold me together, Be forever near me, Breath of heaven. Breath of heaven, Lighten my darkness, Pour over me Your holiness, For You are holy. Breath of heaven.*
The days AFTER Christmas, the Twelve Days of Christmas, for me, are the deep, drawn-out, relaxed, lung-filling inhalations of joy.
It begins on the 26th. I have already cleaned the house before Christmas. On Christmas Day, between opening gifts in the morning, and Christmas dinner, I am cleaning up wrapping paper, putting away bows and ribbon, breaking down boxes for the recycling bin, and putting the gifts away in each child’s room. Then I vacuum again, set the table for dinner, and help out in the kitchen. Mr. Garner always cooks Christmas Dinner! I’m assigned KP Duty, cleaning up the pots and pans during the cooking phase, and the dishes and glasses after the eating phase. (He says its an even trade because I wrap all the gifts, and do the clean up. I don’t know, I still think I’m coming out ahead – but – if he’s happy, I’m happy!)
So, on the 26th, there is nothing to do but rest and breathe, eat leftovers and breathe, and play with Christmas gifts and breathe! I spent the day on the couch, breathing and watching a few of the Holiday movies that I didn’t have time to watch before the big day, dozing through a few of them.
Tomorrow, I’m planning to start a chapter in each of the books I’ve received, put pen to my brand new Commonplace Book, and a few other things!
Breath of Heaven, or Mary’s Song, written by Amy Grant and Chris Eaton, is a classic (contemporary) Christmas song. Here is a lovely recording by Amy Grant, with visuals from The Nativity movie.