Are you still enjoying the season of Christmas, or Christmastide? This is the first time we’ve ever had our decorations up on January 5. In the past, we have decorated for Christmas on the Friday after Thanksgiving and put everything away on New Year’s Day. These dates frame our cultural Christmas calendar—taking us from Black Friday to New Year’s Resolutions.
In the past, keeping our Christmas decor up this late would only have been due to serious illness…like over my dead body! Undecorating was a rite of passage—out with the old year, and in with the new! But this year is different. Yesterday, on January 4th, I hummed Christmas hymns all day. And I think I like it.
We celebrated four weeks of Advent, the start of the Christian Year, which begins in November. We didn’t celebrate Christmas until, well, Christmas. Now, in the first week of January, our Christmas lights are still twinkling.
As I planned my week, I had to remember we were going to keep celebrating the season of Christmas through Tuesday night, the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas. This year we are being intentionally counter-culture, marching to a different beat than retailers. This year we are keeping time according to the traditions of the Christian Year.
Marking time by the events in the life of Jesus reminds us that we are always to center our minds and hearts around Christ, the gift that keeps on giving. Jesus is THE gift to end all gifts, “for to us a child is born, to us a son is given…” To get a better sense of the magnitude of the gift of Christ, take a look at this famous passage from Isaiah in The Voice translation:
Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams,
a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift.
And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great.
The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders.
His name? His name we’ll know in many ways—
He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing,
Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace.
His leadership will bring such prosperity as you’ve never seen before—
sustainable peace for all time.
This child: God’s promise to David—a throne forever, among us,
to restore sound leadership that cannot be perverted or shaken.
He will ensure justice without fail and absolute equity. Always.
The intense passion of the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies,
will carry this to completion.
Today, we are still celebrating Christmas, remembering that Jesus is the most perfect gift we will ever receive. How about you? Do you keep Christmas for twelve days? If you don’t, would you want to?