What are you doing this Christmas Eve? I was asked this morning in East Sacramento’s Orphan Breakfast House.
Well, brunch with friends, for starters. We’ll probably hit a Christmas Eve service later, but this morning we enjoyed the 4th annual occasion. It started as support for a dear friend with depression. The subsequent years have been happier, marked by the attendance of loved ones. And so we celebrate the height and depth of relationship on Christmas Eve.
Our Christmas week and end of Advent, like the last few years since The WordHouse began, have been a blend of gathering together and being with our individual families. We haven’t yet held a Christmas Eve service. Who knows, perhaps one year we will, although it may never be a tradition. We’re younger folk in our community, with family typically elsewhere. Our hometowns are mostly not where we reside.
Which reminds me of the Holy Parents.
Mary and Joseph gave birth to their Son away from their residence. They came to be accounted for by the government. They laid their baby in a trough for feed, next to the cattle who were lowing, because no room was available.
Most of us don’t have it this dire, but some of us do. We sleep in cars and shelters. Some of us have need to register with municipalities that can be oppressive. One’s awful situation doesn’t preclude one from having an intimate encounter with those silent happenings long ago in Bethlehem. Jesus and his parents know what that’s like. Could it be possible to miss the spirit of Chritmas by having wonderful Christmas Eve services and a lit pine tree in the living room? These holy celebrations don’t come close to the circumstance of Jesus’ birth.
Caring for neighbors. Turning our hearts to the oppressed, to one another. Perhaps this is the truest way, like the prophets of old might say, to celebrate Christmas.
Hmm… I’m beginning to really like our Christmas Eve Brunch tradition.