If you are one of the few remaining faithful still checking email or at work, you may be reading this before Christmas—but for the rest of us, Christmas is past. We have opened our gifts and maybe even done a return or two, eaten our fill of delicious food—and then some. We’ve taken down or are contemplating the task of taking down the Christmas decorations and are ready to return to a normal routine.
Isn’t it strange that while society is so eager to begin celebrating Christmas, it is equally quick to drop it like a hot potato? For months leading up to Christmas every store immerses us in the sounds and sights of Christmas, but now just a few days later, it's all hearts and chocolate. But for the Christian, Christmas day does not mark the end of the Christmas season but its beginning. We have moved from Advent, a time of waiting, to Christmas, a time of incarnational fulfillment. The real 12 days of Christmas do not take place before, but rather after Christmas.
By extending the Christmas season 12 days, to January 6 (Epiphany Sunday), we allow ourselves time to reflect more deeply on the Incarnation and what it means that Christ dwelt among us, the Word made flesh. So as you pack up your nativity sets, consider leaving the Christ child out just a little longer as a reminder that Christmas Day reverberates throughout the next 12 days and beyond.
Christmas isn’t over.
This also means that it isn’t too late to wish your very dedicated (and tired) pastors and worship leaders a blessed Christmas, and maybe drop a gift card to their favorite coffee shop off in their mailbox. While we’ve enjoyed a break, these people have worked extra long hours and weeks, and Epiphany is just around the corner.