Day 1: December 25: Feast of the Nativity:
For many families, Christmas is a time dedicated to conspiring with siblings to catch Santa Clause, endlessly tweaking wishlists months in advance, and binging Hallmark movies whilst building gingerbread houses; my upbringing was no different. However, in the chaos of gift buying and decorations, mankind’s remembrance of the true meaning of Christmas dwindles alongside their savings.
The first day of Christmas in the Church calendar seeks to rectify and renew our view on this often misunderstood holiday. Hebrews 1:1-6, one of the passages assigned to be read on this day, redefines the purpose of Christmas, reminding us that the gift we should be overjoyed to receive is not the newest iPhone model, jewelry, or a vacation, but rather the possibility of a personal relationship with God through the gift of Jesus. Christmas is the annunciation that through the unity of the Son’s divinity and human physicality, we are able to interact with God in the flesh. Through the birth of Jesus, we can have direct communication and personal relationship with Jesus rather than solely relying on a human priest to
communicate with God as shown in the Old Testament. Hebrews also references a prayer originating from Psalm 2 which states, “You are my son, today I have begotten you.” This Psalm prophesies that God’s son, both fully God and fully man, would one day take his place on earth and heaven (v.7). This reference further solidifies the concept that Jesus, although born of a human, is fully God, giving us a personal tie to the spiritual realm and Christ himself. While there is nothing wrong with candy canes or gifts, instead of spending more, we should focus on how much more we receive through and from the gift of baby Jesus that is given to us and for us by a gracious Father.
The meaning of the Incarnation of Jesus is crucial to the first day of Christmas. The passage from Hebrews not only points to the gift of Christmas but also to the need for it. After emphasizing the power that the infant possesses, the reading connects His birth with His death. The point Hebrews is making of Christmas is that Jesus was born to die, and coming to terms with this radical generosity is the first step toward a personal relationship with Him. The first of the twelve days of Christmas was intentionally designed not to just tell the Christmas story itself, but more importantly to refine the deeper meaning of the holiday we so often take for granted before we continue on to celebrate the other eleven days.
Prayer of the Day:
Dear Lord, I thank You so much that we can celebrate the gift You gave us through the Incarnation of Jesus. I pray that as this twelve day celebration begins I will start the season with You on my mind, not gifts. Help me keep my focus on our relationship and not on trivial celebrations, because they mean nothing without You. Remind us of Your generosity and grace through this season of giving. It is in Your name I pray, Amen.
Because this day begins the celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmas, it should be spent realigning our focus on what really matters this season: a fully divine Son of God taking human form so that we can have a personal relationship with Him. So, it should be celebrated with family and friends to remind us that the closeness we have in those relationships can be just as strong as our relationship with Jesus, who is both like a father and a friend to us. Whether this be accomplished through playing games around the glowing fireplace or laughing over ugly Christmas sweaters while sipping hot chocolate, all that matters is the joy found in spending time with one another, which in a way is spending time with Jesus as well. So for today, I challenge you to spend time and make memories with the people you love most, to have as a model for the relationship you strive to build with Jesus going forward with the rest of this season.