My daughter has learned a new word in the last few weeks . . . “almost”. She usually says it as “aaaaaaaalmost”. She’s two and a half. It is like in the last few weeks she got that we anticipate things. Sometimes events, usually ones that we want to happen, sometimes these events don’t happen right away. Sometimes we must wait. So in the context of talking about Christmas and Santa Claus and seeing this relative and that relative, we would say, “We’ll see them tomorrow.” And my daughter would reply, “aaaaaaalllmost”. “Yes, almost.”
I’m struck today that Christmas is over. Well at least in the way that we generally celebrate it in this country, especially in the area where I live. So what you have is all the anticipation for one big day. It’s not surprising that many people end up depressed, anxious, over-stressed, before, during and after the celebration. We wait in anticipation, knowing that the day is “aaaalmost” here.
Then it is gone.
And we wrestle with what it all meant, what it all means. For some of us we were with family members that we may not celebrate Christmas with again. For others of us, we might have been with folks that we pray we won’t have to “celebrate” with again!
On Christmas Eve, we sang in a Christmas choir at the church where we’ve been attending services. We sang “African Noel” and “Lullaby for the Sleeping Savior” among other hymns. The sermon was a wonderful word about incarnation . . . about how often we are living in anticipation of what is coming, ignoring the difficulties of the present moment, ignoring the beauty present in the now. As Jesus came to us, he came in the form of a tiny baby, to be among us. God became one of us. Incarnation means embracing exactly where we are . . . because God did.
It isn’t “almost”; we are called to live now.