Christmas in Red and Green
Like most people, I associate Christmas with red and green. Wrapping paper, cards, even that weird elf that spies on your kids is red and green. (I really don’t get the Elf on a Shelf thing.) But neither Advent nor Christmas is celebrated in red or green in church. Blue or purple is the color for Advent, likely because of their association with royalty. Blue dye was very expensive, as was purple.
Red and green though maybe goes back to holly, a very European symbol of life during the coldest months of northern winters. We obviously don’t need that same reminder here in the desert. Though I cannot convince my family that palo verde trees have any part in the Christmas season, we are surrounded by signs of new life in winter. Our winter can be cold, but it is also full of life.
Last week, while running in the desert, I was followed by a small coyote and startled by a huge jackrabbit that apparently was startled by me too. The cold night air was lit by a fat moon and the reflection of the desert ground. The creation bouncing back radiance.
There are these old legends around Christmas about animals being able to talk one night a year and other strange natural phenomena with a once a year showing. Eternity has come close to this earthly life. It awakens a kind of gentle magic. The rules seems bent by goodness.
In these old stories human beings mostly miss out on the magic because we don’t pay attention. We are so caught up in the business of adulthood and work and partying that we miss the real business of salvation. We miss eternity for baubles.
So stop this Christmas, as we near the coming of the Lord, and let our normal habits rest and pay attention. Bend toward the good, listen to the animals and their shepherds, and maybe while you are running around keep an eye on the cold desert sky for sudden choirs of angels.
Part of what we do in church this time of year is practice paying attention. We stop preparing and worrying and watch as our children become sheep and kings and angels. We listen to the original story and wonder at old traditions that remind us that
“On this night, in the city of David, to you is born a savior who is Christ the King.”
- 4:30 p.m. – Carol Sing
- 5:00 p.m. – Family Service and Children’s Pageant
- 7:45 p.m. – Carol Sing
- 8:00 p.m. – Candlelight Service
- 10:00 a.m. – Traditional Christmas Service