The season of Advent has a clear line of movement across the Sundays to Christmas, but there seems no easy flow of the 12 Days of Christmas. There are saints’ days (St. Stephen, Dec 26; St. John, Dec 27; St Sylvester, Dec 31, etc.) and the 13th day is Epiphany, when in Western traditions the Wise Men arrive, and in Eastern traditions, the baptism of Jesus is celebrated.
So we have created our own movements in our metaphorical monastery: learning discernment at the Gate of the monastery, walking inward in our monastic cell, praying with others in the Abbey church, learning to feast and fast in the kitchen, and finally learning to read slowly in the library.
And so on the first Sunday after Christmas, we find ourselves half way through the 12 days, soon to cross the threshold to the new year and journey on towards Epiphany.
Are you still with us dear pilgrim?
With half the pilgrimage ahead of us, and on a Sunday, let us take a meditative Sabbath pause. In our journey so far, we have almost rushed from one room to the next in a most un-benedictine manner. But now we have a significant threshold before us: the door into the new year. A spiritual practice we teach in our retreats is that of pausing before the threshold to gather up the past and anticipate the future. This we will do tomorrow, New Years’ Eve.
But for now, on this Sabbath, rest and gather your strength for the rest of the journey. Catch up on your reading in the 12 days, sit in meditation, or use Lectio Divina, or sing in church, or have lunch with friends, wash the dishes with loving intention, or do what ever holy thing you feel a call to. Be spiritually present in this last Sabbath of the old year.
Tomorrow we walk forward again.