Although most folks would tell you Christmas is over, on the church calendar it is not!
The Christmas season actually begins on Christmas Day and lasts until the Epiphany on January 6, the day which church tradition says was the day the Magi arrived to pay homage to the Christ Child.
And Christmas isn’t over in another sense. As one of our hymns says, once the tinsel is put away and the Magi have returned home, the real work of Christmas begins … the real work that I hope Advent prepared us for … the work of listening anew to the biblical prophets we heard from during Advent: Isaiah, the Baptizer, Mary.
All of them are so very clear that God loves justice, that God’s heart-beat is justice, and that we are called to love justice and make it our heart-beat too.
On Christmas Eve we once again heard the story of Mary and Joseph, traveling to Bethlehem and being turned away by the innkeeper.
The Hebrew Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann brings this story alive in his Advent devotional, Celebrating Abundance, when he writes that the inn-keeper said, “sorry, full up, no room.”
And Brueggemann wonders if the inn really was full or whether the inn-keeper just turned such people away.
Perhaps “no room” was only an excuse. And Brueggemann adds that we know all about such excuses-no room for immigrants, no room for gays, no room for blacks, no room for women.
But he says Jesus squeezed in anyway. He made room in the inn, in the village of Bethlehem, in the world. Jesus defied the verdict of “no room” and made room for many more.
That perhaps in a nutshell is the work of Christmas-to make room.
Perhaps that’s what Advent prepared us for-to squeeze together and make a little more room for someone else.
I hope so.