I was listening to this conversation with John Dominic Crossan the other day. Our 7 year old was coloring in the room with me. She asked me what the men were talking about. When I told her that they were talking about the meaning of Christmas, she screwed up her face and said incredulously, “They don’t know what Christmas means???”
Do YOU know what Christmas means? Is the meaning of Christmas clear to you? Is the meaning constant and stable over time for you?
While my 7 year old thinks it is clear and stable for her, I know better. It has changed meaning for her as she grows. I identify with that change. It changes meaning for me, too.
My Advent practices take me to different places every year. The world sends me in different directions every year. My life in this time and place pushes and pulls me in new ways every year.
And, the meaning of Christmas changes. New aspects are illuminated. Other parts recede. New challenges arise. Some challenges are renewed. Some older meanings are replaced. Some older meanings are elaborated.
Of course, I love change, and I embrace these new meanings of Christmas.
Many of you love the stability of meaning that returns and holds you close year after year.
I think there is something to learn from both ways approaching the meaning of Christmas.
Bring to class what Christmas means to you.
- With whom in the Christmas story are you identifying?
- From whom in the Christmas story do you feel distant?
- Which Christmas story illuminates meaning for you?
- Which practices bring that meaning into your life?
- How does the meaning of Christmas change your life, your relationships, and your community?
No worries if you are in the weeds of obligations and expectations and busyness that keep you at arm’s length from “what does all this mean anyway?” Just come and be with us.