The End… The Beginning… and The Journey In Between…

Today in our liturgical calendar is the Baptism of the Lord.  This marks the end of the Christmas liturgical season.  The decorations are beginning to come down slowly.. The trees are taken down, and there can, in the secular world a small measure of sadness, where in leaving the Christmas liturgical season there is a loss of sentimentality, or that certain Christmas Spirit if you will.

At the same time, this means that there is a little rest period in the liturgical action, we enter into “ordinary time”.  In contrast the feast of the Baptism also marks the beginning of Jesus ministry on earth.. It also marks the end of his time at home with Mary, working in the shop.

There are many differences.. beginnings and endings that center around this time.

The thing is this, for Christians, yes this is the end of the Christmas season on the calendar, but this is also a time to carry the message of Christmas forward.  Christmas for us is not a liturgical season.  Christmas for us is at the heart of our very day to day lives.

The message that Jesus is alive and well in the world. That He lives daily not just on Sunday or Saturday, not just in the sacrifice of the Holy Mass.  Jesus is present every day when we carry the child Jesus in our hearts.  When we are there for and care for our brothers and sisters.

Think of this like the Holy Family.  They were traveling when Jesus was born.  They stayed in Bethlehem in the manger for a time, but then they had to move forward for it was the only way for them to eventually return home.

So it is with us.  We have for the last 8 weeks enjoyed Advent and the entire Christmas season.  We sat in joyful anticipation of the birth of the Christ child.  We stood in awe on Christmas that the Lord, the King of the Universe, came into our world.  Then we stayed with the family basking in the glow of the season.  We enjoyed a time to stop and get off the world for a bit. We enjoyed the quiet solitude and celebrations and gatherings.

Now, like the Holy Family, we have to move forward out of this time of quiet joy and go forward into the world.   We should take note however, obviously Joseph did not pack up his bags and everything else and then go off and leave Jesus behind ?  Obviously not.  They gathered Jesus into their arms and into their hearts and took Him with them out into the world.

This is exactly the lesson we should take out of this day.  We do not want to pack Jesus up and put Him away in amongst the boxes and bows, tinsel and tree.  Instead, we want to take Him into our hearts and take Him our into the world, out into our lives, and share Him with our brothers and sisters.

Emmanuel.. does not mean God is with ME, no.  Emmanuel God is with US.  He can not however make it to be with everyone if we do not take Him with us.

Will you leave our Lord in the Manger ?

May God give you the gift of His peace !

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