It's been an amazing day of celebrating with family, opening gifts, eating and then eating some more. It's actually been a pretty amazing month of Christmas-ing for us with shows and shopping and traditions and parties.
I always get a little sad when December 25th comes to a close. I hate to see it all end. On December 26th, the Christmas songs stop playing. One by one, the homes on our street take down their lights. Dried-out Christmas trees make their way to the sidewalk for bulk pick-up. We build up so much anticipation for one day. One day to share the celebration of Santa with the celebration of the birth of Christ.
The reality, though, is that while Santa gets one night, the birth of Christ was just the beginning of the Christmas story. On Christmas Day, Jesus was born. But it took a while for the world to know. We tend to celebrate the birth, the angels, the shepherds and the arrival of the wisemen together, like it all happened on one day. I mean, all of those figures came in my Nativity scene box together, as if they all experienced God coming to be with us at the same time. The truth, though, is that it took a while. Word had to spread. It is believed to have taken the wisemen almost two years to find Jesus!
Not being in a church that emphasizes the Liturgical calendar, it was a complete surprise to me that the 12 Days of Christmas is a real thing, and it starts Christmas Day. It's not a celebration of buying random, expensive leaping lords, geese a-laying, and golden rings for your true love... It's an opportunity for Christians to take 12 days to focus on the rest of the story after the birth of Christ - the angels sharing the good news, the shepherds arriving and then running to tell the world, and then the wisemen following the star to Jesus. It's the story of the world finding out. Hearing the good news. Realizing that Hope had come. That things would be different. That God had, just like he promised, decided to come down in flesh and be with us, be one of us.
My family is going to try something new this year by celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas. Our house will be the one with the lights on and the trees up until we reach "Epiphany", the 12th Day. With the hustle and frantic busy-ness of Christmas coming to an end, I'm looking forward to having a chance to breathe and focus on God being with us, and then finding ways between now and January 6 to show how that has made a difference.