I’m finding that one of the beautiful things about the Christmas season is continuing the celebration after Christmas Day. I’ve never formally celebrated twelve Days of Christmas but I think this year I’m going to try. To get started, I need to understand what the 12 Days of Christmas actually mean.
So, a Bing search came up with some interesting results. One “Best Answer” on Yahoo answers came up with this response from Susan, (partial quote here) …”Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but in most of the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th). In some traditions, the first day of Christmas begins on the evening of December 25th but the following day is considered the First Day of Christmas (December 26th)…Perhaps more important is that Christians can celebrate their rich heritage, and God’s grace, through one more avenue this Christmas. Now, when they hear what they once thought was a secular “nonsense song,” they will be reminded in one more way of the grace of God working in transforming ways in their lives and in our world. After all, is that not the meaning of Christmas anyway?”
Over at achievebalance.com, an article describes the 12 Days of Christmas song this way, “The singer of the carol is the ordinary person who believes in Christ, and his ‘true love’ is God the Father. The accumulative pattern of going back each time through all the verses teaches the ongoing and abundant blessings of a loving God. We repeat to help us not forget what we have received. The whole song is a joyful celebration of what God has done for us.”
An article about the 12 Days of Christmas on Christianitytoday.com suggests that the traditional Christian celebration of Christmas is exactly the opposite of how the world generally celebrates Christmas, starting after November in getting ready for it and then culminating in the celebration on the 25th.
The article goes on to say, “The “real” twelve days of Christmas are important not just as a way of thumbing our noses at secular ideas of the “Christmas season.” They are important because they give us a way of reflecting on what the Incarnation means in our lives. Christmas commemorates the most momentous event in human history—the entry of God into the world He made, in the form of a baby. The Logos through whom the worlds were made took up His dwelling among us in a tabernacle of flesh.”
It goes on to say that December 26 “is the feast of St. Stephen—a traditional day for giving leftovers to the poor (as described in the carol “Good King Wenceslas”). As one of the first deacons, Stephen was the forerunner of all those who show forth the love of Christ by their generosity to the needy. But more than this, he was the first martyr of the New Covenant, witnessing to Christ by the ultimate gift of his own life.”
OK, so my plan for today was initially to bring these Capezzanna Olive Oil tea cakes I made yesterday to my volleyball group I’m playing with this afternoon, but I’m adding one more task: Find a homeless person to give one to. Wish me luck.