It’s gotten so that December 25 can no longer bear the weight of its own anticipation. Maybe Christians are especially guilty of putting too much emphasis on Christmas day. I do love the approach of Christmas. The trouble is that after all that buildup, it comes and goes like any other day.
That’s why we need to start thinking of Christmas as a Moveable Feast. Technically a moveable feast is a holiday that doesn’t fall on the same calendar day every year: Easter, for example. But I’m referring to the way in which Ernest Hemingway used the term in his memoir by the same name. In the preface to A Moveable Feast, Hemingway wrote “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
Hemingway’s book is a recounting of his time spent as a young writer in Paris in the 1920s. The joie de vie, or joy of life he saw there, the experiences with the notables he met, the food he ate and the wine he drank, these stayed with him all his life. His vivid retelling of these memories stays with the reader also.
As much as I would like to visit Paris, I know that as a Christian I have something much better than memories to live off of. In Ephesians 3:16-19 Paul prays that the church will be “strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
When you become a Christian, somehow Jesus comes to dwell in your heart. Christmas, that is, Christ’s coming, is therefore a Moveable Feast. Wherever you go for the rest of your life, he stays with you. Your joy in him will grow increasingly as he dwells in you and you abide in him.
Christmas is not just a celebration of what Jesus did 2,000 years ago. It’s also an anticipation of the feast that will take place at the end of time, or rather the beginning of it. In Revelation 19:9 we read “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Those who are invited will be blessed then, and they are blessed now. Carry that invitation around with you every day like a golden ticket. It is your sure entrance to heaven.
I don’t really want Christmas 365 days a year. To be honest, at the end of Christmas day I usually feel a bit let down. What I want is Christ every day. Or at least, I want to want Him. May Christ dwell in your heart by faith this Christmas. May Emmanuel, God with us, be with you. May the joy that his incarnation brings stay with you all the days of your life.