In a festive family quiz we had a dispute over whether the 12th day of Christmas is the 5th or 6th of January. IE. Do the 12 days start on 25th or 26th December? The quiz said 6th January is the 12th day. Whichever, are you continuing your Christmas celebrations, keeping trees and decorations up till at least the 5th or 6th? I know some of you already have Christmas well boxed away, and some couldn’t summon the motivation to merrify your home in the first place. Whichever, Epiphany (12th Day of Christmas) is traditionally when we remember the Wise men visiting Jesus, who becomes a refugee and asylum seeker in Egypt, escaping the murderous terror of King Herod.
Some Orthodox Christians (E.G. Greek & Russian) observe the Christmas Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds (visiting baby Jesus) on January 6, followed by the Adoration of the Magi (three wise men or kings) on January 7. So, Christmas Eve in some world homes’ celebrations is still to come. Here in the Western Church Christmas decorations usually come down after Epiphany (6th January), when we remember the Wise Men visiting the Christ Child. However, the reality it celebrates is constant, Christ has come to stick & stay with us, through thick & thin. Christ is for life, not just for Christmas!
Sometimes people sign their Christmas messages & cards with a shortened ‘Xmas’ and very easily that ‘X’ becomes a question mark ‘?’ I suspect many get to and through Xmas wondering ‘What was that all about!?’
We can easily lose sight of what Christmas is all about when only an ‘X’ or something other than Christ marks the spot. When we lose sight of, or fail to recognise, Christ ‘In Charge and Lord of All’ we lose the marvel and mystery of God become human to save and give us life full of purpose and hope.
With or without trees, lights and decorations, the celebration of Christ’s Spirit Presence is a daily, 24/7, all year thing. The popular Christmas song that cries, “I wish it could be Christmas every day!” is positively answered and realised wherever people are ready and willing to celebrate it each day. The everlasting legacy of Christmas is ‘God With & For Us’, able to share God’s Love, Care & Peace wherever people like you and me allow Him access and room. May your 2022 be ‘Epiphanic’, filled with experiences of Jesus at work in your life, neighbourhood, nation, and world.