Walking through my neighborhood I was thinking about those Christmas inflatable decorations we see (and have seen) during this holy-day season. You know the ones: Rudolph, Frosty, the globe of the Magi, Santa, etc. They are so cheerful at night, full of air and lit up and brightly colored, but during the day they lie on the ground lifeless, empty, and deflated. Inflatable Christmas: temporary, only out and full for a short season and then gone until next year. Hmmm, sound familiar
We all know that there are “inflatable” Christians: they are full of air, of not much content—not much on the inside, not much real conviction, of very little substance and depth. On the surface they may look pretty good: bright, cheerful, colorful—and we are glad when they show up, (all are welcome)—even if they are only filled by what is light and air. The inflatable Christian is only about the show and the surface: just to be seen, be looked at and admired. Appreciate them from a distance but don't get too close or you may be surprised, disappointed, or discouraged—because they are only temporary. They only appear on special occasions, dressed up and smiling when the season is right and the message is pleasing, the music is nostalgic, or they have something free they can take away with them (like ashes or palms). Don’t get me wrong—I am not being “judgy” but asking all of us to seek discernment about our own commitment in the faith. I am always happy to see visitors here at St. Aidan in the hope that I may be part of what will lure them back to the faith, or into the faith.
I do ask myself though, and I’ll admit: where are they in the dark days of winter or the dry, hot and sunny days of summer? The original Christmas was real and a baptized believer should be solid in all seasons, consistent in their commitment in public and in private, under any circumstances or pressure—be they pandemic, politics or murder hornets. A baptized believer acts with grace, with kindness and mercy, forgiveness and love in word and deed. That kind of consistent action might help people to want to stay with us beyond Christmas…
Today we are reminded of our own baptismal promises—not unlike any New Year resolutions we may have made—but there is a large difference—Christian resolutions are sacramental. They are a vow and a promise. We will dismantle the decorations for the Christmas Season and put them away until next year, but we are challenged to keep Christmas every day of the year. Christ has saved us by His birth because he came to die for us. There is so much more to the story than just the Nativity and the magic of the cradle story. Stick around and see; encourage visitors and others by your behaviors, acts, priorities and choices to come back…sooner than next year. We must fill ourselves with God’s grace and become solid in the eyes of the world.
Keep singing in your hearts!
Just a Note: For those of you who may not have seen the Adult Choir Virtual Christmas Project pieces, you may see them on line—a Christmas present for St. Aidan!
All On a Starry Night: https://youtu.be/BQRo7eMsARQ
Star of Wonder: https://youtu.be/vmN5IFtMzIA