Today is the 12th Day of Christmas and tonight is 12th Night, the end of Christmastide. Tomorrow is the first day ofEpiphany, a liturgical season during which the Christian tradition has, in theory, stressed God’s radical inclusion, God’s manifestation in Christ, and the revelation of that presence to humanity. The celebrative model in the West has traditionally been the visit of the Three Kings/Magi. Eastern churches focus on Christ’s baptism in the Jordan.
Since New Year’s Eve, I had “Scarlet” by U2 stuck in my head. My wife and I used some iTunes giftcardage to buy October (Deluxe Edition), basically a double release with every album cut and every album cut live. I said the other day on Facebook how much I love “Moment of Surrender” from No Line On the Horizon, and how underrated I think that whole album is. (Very. Soooo, even). Listening to October today, I got really, really moved by “Gloria”. Moved sounds too emotional for what I really mean. Excited might be better…excited to be listening to such great art that celebrates the fundamental hope of Advent, Christmas, and the New Year. It’s so much more like Taize or Bach than like what many of us think about when someone says this or that work is Christian. It’s essentially, classically Christian, but it’s also suprachristian.
I haven’t had much interest in classic liturgy or these seasons until recently, but I’ve been exploring the contemplative, prayer-centered spiritualities of the broader tradition and finding much to celebrate. It seems to me that the best possible response we might have to the classic and at the same time suprachristian themes of Christmas is celebration, not just for the coming of God into history or God’s theophany, but simply for the thought that God is. The traditions are becoming, for me, a way of considering at deeper levels who God is.
Gloria…in te domine
Oh Lord, loosen my lips.
(photo: Valerie Everett via Flickr.)