***Twelfth Night – January 5th on the Christian calendar, the mark to an end of Christmas and the start of the season of Epiphany***
Growing up, each and every Twelfth Night demanded The Boar’s Head Festival, a celebration of merriment, complete with carolers and beefeaters and a boar’s head mounted on a plaque and a yule log and dancers and hand bells and the symphony quartet. It was magnificent and grand and extravagant, and it grew year after year. Being Episcopalian in small town Tennessee usually meant to be a minority, except for Twelfth Night. It was our church’s grand gesture to the whole community. And in a show of curiosity and graciousness, the whole town attended The Boar’s Head Festival, save for the few anonymous fundamentals each year that wrote to the local paper (without fail) calling for an end of our pagan festival and animal sacrifice.
So a couple of weeks ago, I happened to be home on January 5th, eating lunch with Steve, the current priest of my hometown church. Being that I hadn’t been home on this date in years, I asked if St. Andrew’s still put on The Boar’s Head Festival.
And Steve said no.
The church chose to let it go due to the expense and the man hours and hiring the singers and the production of the whole event and how it was mainly the community but not any actual church members coming anymore and so on.
But that letting it go made room for Resurrection.
And the Resurrection may not look like The Boar’s Head Festival.
Initially my thoughts focused on imagining what on Earth could ever replace The Boar’s Head Festival. It had always been.
It was hard to picture anything but what used to be. Why change something that isn’t broken?
Except for those words, the making room for Resurrection.
And I thought about how many, many places in our lives need us to make room for Resurrection.
We as Americans especially, it seems, pride ourselves on busyness and rushing. We clutter our lives and our homes and our time. We spend not only our money, but our energy, and our focus, and our decision making, and our time on being busy, and therefore important, and ultimately proving our value or our wealth or our smartness. And yet, we are drowning under our busy clutter.
Over three million copies of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing have sold. I haven’t read the book, but my understanding is that it helps readers walk through everything in their possession so that they may truly only keep those things that bring purpose and joy into their lives. And all the rest may go. The idea of a micro wardrobe has also taken many by storm, inspiring people to clean out closets, again keeping only those articles of clothing which bring joy in the wearing. The small house movement continues its evolution into tiny houses and mobile units and re-imagined buses. People are desperate for room outside of their stuff and for less to maintain and for relief from the daily stresses of choice.
It makes me ponder the question – What areas of my life could pass on by to make room for resurrection? We homeschool and work and volunteer and cart the kids from sports to music to events to field trips. We are always busy, always, and the list of things we yearn for, that could bring us joy, we keep postponing, and the list of somedays continues to grow. But what if?
What may need to die so that the Resurrection can take place?
Because that’s what Resurrection starts with – death. From the very first Resurrection to our modern day society, death leads to make room, and it can form in so many unsuspecting pathways of our lives.
Standing in the snow, watching my ten year old suffer through an early soccer game, I again questioned if club sports might be one of those things that could die on the vine, be pruned from our lives, in order to explore new avenues and interests. It may be that tomorrow when the sun comes out, soccer again wins the day, but asking these questions remains important. In prioritizing support groups and co-ops and weekly activities, in discussing what we do from day to day to day, we are allowing ourselves to truly recognize which ones bring joy and inspiration. And which ones bring us stress or fear or worry. These are sometimes easy decisions. But sometimes they can seem agonizing, compounded with a mixture of emotion and feelings of attachment or guilt.
But isn’t that the whole point of Resurrection? The first one didn’t come without pain and agony, without conflicting feelings of guilt and sadness and yet still, hope. It came with a whole bunch of mess. But once the death of Jesus happened, once Jesus left, a space remained. And the Spirit came to us to fill that space up.
We get in ruts and routines and we can’t imagine anything else other than what we do, day after day after day. But what if we stopped? What if we made room in our lives for Resurrection?
Just, what if?