The Christmas Season ends today at Evening Prayer on the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. We put away all the jolly decor, store the nativity scenes, and place the Christmas Tree in its box for another 11 months. Now, the Church now points to ordered time and prepares our hearts to share the public mission of Jesus Christ.
But before we say farewell to Christmas, one final glimpse to remind us of the beauty of this season:
Today, the Church proclaims the Lord entering the Jordan River as a way of entering the tomb, entering Sheol. He is not descending into these waters of annihilation in the manner of Dante who was a spectator in The Inferno. Rather, the Lord descends to fulfill all righteousness. In other words, he enters to give his complete YES to the Father’s will. No wonder the heavens torn open and a voice from the sky is heard! He is Victor!
Through this Epiphanic Event, we have been adopted into God’s Family, we share in the very mission of the Son.
“The Lord was baptized, not to be cleansed Himself, but to cleanse the waters, so that those waters, cleansed by the flesh of Christ which knew no sin, might have the power of Baptism.” ~Saint Ambrose
This Baptism given to us by the faith of our parents is a pure gift! As we commemorate our own baptism, we look to the poetic words of Howard Thurman who reminds us of the mission:
Now the Work of Christmas Begins
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.