You’ve got to hand it to the Christian church when it comes to celebrating Christmas. What a stroke of genius to sanctify 12 whole days to celebrate Jesus’ birthday! It is beyond the realm of possibility for anyone to cram in all the festivity necessary to herald the wonderful news that “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14) into a single day. Thankfully, there is no need to bemoan the fact that Christmas has been “hijacked” by the corporate retail world. They strategically focus all their business guile and persuasion on only the first day, then discard it like some disposable convenience item. On December 26th, most secular society households have put Christmas behind them, and are preparing to chip the tree into mulch for the spring, or are dragging it out to the curb for pick up. This may sound like a sad comment for such a wondrous event for humanity, but this development certainly opens up the 12 days of Christmas for Christian households to revel in the time that is the season of Emmanuel – “God with us.”
So how shall we celebrate these 12 days, you say? Perhaps we should take a page from our Jewish friends who mark each day of Chanukah with the Menorah. We Christians are an imaginative bunch, so we should be able to find creative ways to mark the twelve days of God’s Incarnation. For instance, maybe we could light 12 Christ candles (one per night) formed in a wreath like circle to signify the love of the “Light of the World” is everlasting and without end. Or, maybe we could hold 12 Christmastide meals hosted at 12 different households each night? That would surely afford us the opportunity to spread Christmas cheer! How about performing 12 acts of kindness or service for others? Gee, that would get a lot of chores merrily done at your neighbour’s house and your home too wouldn’t it? Those are only a few ideas which may serve as a springboard for your own plans of celebrating the 12 days of Christmas. But I’m sure that you already have your own family traditions which are great too.
The point here is that no matter how we mark, celebrate or honour the 12 days of Christmas, it is our children who will grow up remembering with fondness those magical 12 days marked by our loving determination to keep celebrating Jesus’ birthday right up until the 12th night. And if our children’s memories are formed in such a manner, perhaps when they become sage seniors they will know the true meaning of Christmas in their golden age hearts and tired bones. Then they will realize that not only the bygone years have been blessed by Jesus Christ, but their lives too.
On behalf of myself and the congregations of the Little Current and Sheguiandah United Churches, it is my wish that you find all the hope, peace, joy and love that God offers you in this season. If you would like to join us in celebrating the beginning of Christmastide, our Christmas Eve Candle Light Service will be held at 7 pm at our church located at 5 Robinson St. in Little Current. All are welcome!
And so, Happy Birthday Jesus! A very Merry Christmastide to you all and a blessed New Year!
Paul J. Allard
Designated Lay Minister
Little Current and Sheguiandah United Church