The typical American Christmas goes about the same every year: The anticipation of Christmas Eve and fulfillment of Christmas Day followed by the ultimate disappointment of it being over around lunchtime. It’s so anticlimactic! We should have more Christmas, not less. The celebration of the birth of our Savior and the mystery of His coming in the flesh as a baby deserves more space and time for marvel. Fortunately, there is a way to live more deeply into the Christmas moment. The Church has traditionally celebrated Christmas over twelve days, and by returning to understanding and celebrating these twelve days we can create the right amount of space in our lives to fully contemplate the joy and miracle of Jesus. These days are outlined in the Church calendar year, which has been used by Christians worldwide for thousands of years. And while many of these traditions may have been lost to our current moment, we can always return to them in faith.
A lot of times, we get so caught up in the quick paced, materialistic Christmas season that by the time the actual Twelve Days start, we’re so exhausted that we want the season to end and a new year to begin. On top of that, we get the season of Advent – the anticipation of Christ’s coming – confused with Christmas. Christmas is the fulfillment of our promised Savior and a time for reflecting on what He has done for us. It begins on December 25th with Jesus’ birth and ends on January 5th. After spending Advent fasting and waiting for Christ to be born, Christmas lets us bask in the peace of Immanuel, or “God with us.” God gives us Jesus’ light to destroy our darkness.
As the Senior AP English class, we have been studying the Lectionary and Church calendar and how it relates to us. Through this devotional, we hope to not only educate you about the twelve days of Christmas, but to also show some practical ways you can observe the Twelve Days and new traditions you can begin with your families. This Christmas, everyone can witness God, feel His peace, and enjoy being part of God’s holy family.
Prayer for the Day:
“Dear Lord, we thank you deeply for the Christmas season and what it means for us. We thank you for the time to come together and worship, basking in your perfect sacrifice. We ask that you will bless your people with your presence in this season. Bring us joy and peace through you and you alone. Amen.”