Faith As a Season, Not Just a Day
Merry Christmas! Yes, it is after Christmas Day, and we still are celebrating Christmas! As the popular secular song states — Christmas actually is a 12-day festival and season of the Christian Church. So while Christmas music has stopped and stores have shifted to the next occasion and or holiday, Christians around the world continue to celebrate the birth of the Christ-child, Jesus, for 12 days, until Epiphany.
It is quite fascinating how fast we as a culture move from one occasion, holiday, celebration — to another. We are by far a culture fascinated and hooked upon instant gratification and are constantly searching for the next ‘experience’ that will instigate desirable satisfaction or feeling in us.
And celebrating Christmas as a Day instead of a 12-day season goes right along with that. By the way, Valentine’s Day cards and candy are already out!
It has me thinking that most major faith traditions — while having ‘certain days’ of significance — also have ‘seasons of significance’ that last more than a day.
Christianity has Christmas (12 days), Easter (50 days); Judaism has Passover (seven to eight days) and Hanukkah (eight days), and Islam has Ramadan (29-30 days), just to name a few. I think that points us to an understanding that living faith is beyond a single day.
Faith is more than just a one day’s experience or feeling. Faith, across faith traditions — while daily — is something we do over a season. It is a way of life that undergirds and provides the foundation how ones lives across time and the milestones of life.
That is not to say the ups and downs of faith on a daily basis will challenge us, as well as nurture us. Whatever faith we may confess and live by is something that we practice and live by daily.
Sure, there will be festive days, moments, and occasions — and there will also be times to live and mark a milestone or season of faith over a number of days. We will all be better for it.
The Rev. Dr. Scott McAnally is pastor of Lutheran Church of Hope