Advent 2021 #12: Christmas on repeat

It was announced via email earlier in the week that we were again having our workplace Christmas raffle this year. We were encouraged to buy a ticket and donate a gift that could be bundled into a prize pack.

A few days earlier, I noticed I’d half made a quilt pine tree one Christmas. I’d done all the cutting but had never actually sewn it together. I knew as soon as I read the email what I would be adding into the raffle. I also knew that it wasn’t being added until after the weekend.

Here’s a little progress photo comparison with a previous year:

2021’s tree trunk is rather natural looking, whereas the pine “leaves” are quite the opposite.

Struggling to remember how to pin it together and get the turns right did feel like a little bit of Christmas repeating. It’s not difficult to do; you just need to remember what it is you need to do, so that you don’t have a gaping hole with unjointed fabric.

Sometimes Christmas does feel like it’s a little bit on repeat.

Even in the first Christmas there was a little bit of a repeat. One woman after the other finding out that they were unexpectedly pregnant with a very important baby on the way. Here’s some of Luke‘s gospel:

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

That’s baby #1, John the Baptist on the way. Then another angel appears:

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Both baby’s are special, but it is clear that baby #2, Jesus is who we are really waiting for, not John the Baptist. John is an important front runner, but Christmas is of note and celebratory because of the second angel. Even Elizabeth knew it:

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!

No two babies are the same, but the arrival of a repeat angel is noticeable in the many months leading up to the first Christmas.

December can be a busy time. Lots of parties. Lots of eating (all you can eat Japanese on Friday night… was so full). Lots of baking and lots of sewing (for some of us).

In all the activities – which can seem a bit repetitive from year to year – it’s important to be like Elizabeth. She didn’t miss what was really going on and knew what to focus on when her cousin arrived. For this reason, Elizabeth is definitely one to emulate at Christmas time.

In the meantime, I need to go finish my tree somewhat quickly.

Yours in a repeat stitch-up,

Alison

Photo by Luna Lovegood on Pexels.com

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