Tonight you should invite someone over for dinner.
No, seriously. Have a twelfth night party, play host or hostess, and have someone for dinner in your house as the Holy Family welcomed the Magi.
Then sit around the table, eat, and learn from them. Share wisdom together. Share this sacred space together.
And if you can’t invite someone over, then you should certainly make two helpings of tonight’s meal and share one with a neighbor sometime this week.
See, the twelfth is the official end of Christmastide, and is the night when we practice that last bit of love and hospitality that we’ve stored in our lamps of light (to riff on a parable of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel).
Or is your oil gone? Are you tired of guests? Holiday fatigue?
One of the things that I think we can learn, and learn gradually over years, is how to make sure that holidays remain “holy days.” How we can be those wise ones that we desire to emulate who seem to have unending reserves at the end of any day, week, or season.
Christ identifies the spiritual life as one that bubbles up with an “everlasting wellspring” in the Gospel of John. None of this is meant to cause guilt, but rather to provide perspective.
Let us be the wise ones who have reserves this year. Let us be those whose spiritual life is bubbling up in an everlasting wellspring of life that will have reserves enough to share with others.
Let us be those whose door can be opened to not only the Christ child, but any others who are seeking the Christ and find us instead.
The Quakers talk about having “inner light,” the light of Christ that shines from within toward all of humanity. Think of it as a stable light, or perhaps that oil lamp, but never imagining it going out. We must live in such a way that the light is guarded and yet shared, is stoked and used well.
A blessed twelfth night to you and your guests. May you share your light, the light of Christ, with someone today. And if not today…soon.
Question for reflection: What fatigues me most about the holidays? How can I make them holy?