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December 26, 2016 | JOHN RAY


It’s quiet this early in our house. The dog’s been let out and fed and now lies quietly snoring at my feet. The break of the slow-rising sun is dim enough to allow the lights on the Christmas tree to still glow, a fitting metaphor for this place in time.


If you are like me, you’ve grown used to the routine of such a huge buildup to Christmas Day that the day itself is almost a letdown. Maybe that’s part of the reason our culture is so quick to move on after it’s over.

Its commercial usefulness is done: time to move on to the next thing. Time to take the tree down, pack away all the decorations and get ready to fix all those nagging problems (the extra ten pounds we’re packing, the debt we’ve accumulated, the projects we’ve postponed) with our New Year’s resolutions. Time to get back to “normal”

(but this year we’ll get “normal” right).


Stop. Please, stop.


Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our Savior, the One who has come into history in such an utterly cosmos-shattering way, isn’t over yet. Traditionally, the Church has celebrated Christmas for twelve days. I don’t know if that’s exactly the right length, but I do know we need much more than one day. We need time after the high-fructose present-giving and emotional roller coaster of sentimentality to reflect, to let it sink in, to deal on a much deeper level with all that this means.

This week, slow down. Leave the tree up. Find a new Christmas album or make a new Christmas playlist.

(start here if you need a nudge)

Reread the Christmas Story in Luke and in John in the quiet of the post “holiday season,” and reflect on what it means now. Also, read and reflect on the following:

(click the image to view the pdf) 










and read Chapter 4 of The Attentive Life.


Praying for each and all of you. Really eager to gather together again soon.

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