Here we are! The last Sunday of 2019, 4 days after Christmas Day and 2 days before, a new year and a new decade. Feels like we are caught in the middle, hung over from all the events and busyness of Christmas, thinking we finally get a break and can relax before returning back to our routine or planning the routines we have resolved to take up in the new year.
While it may feel like we are in a time in between new beginnings we are actually in Christmastide, The Christmas Season. Christmastide begins on Christmas Eve at sunset, which is the ending of Advent. Christmastide lasts twelve days and ends on the 5th of January. It is followed by the Epiphany season.
The 12 days of Christmas are often lost to our modern society. One reason is a practical matter, as work progressed from farming/ hunting to industrialized work, to our non-stop information age the natural downtime from work in the winter months does not occur. Devoting 12 days for prayer, reflection and rededication during the Christmas season was very doable. Additionally, Epiphany traditionally considered the day the Magi brought their gifts to the Christ child was the day of giving gifts in the early church, which obviously lost out to jolly old St. Nicolas.
If you think about it, it is kind of odd that we prepare for 4 weeks during Advent, feel childlike anticipation and reverence on Christmas Eve, Christmas day baby Jesus is born and the next day we are ready to pack it in and call it a year.
This morning, I would like us to pause and take a look at what happened after Jesus was born and offer a few thoughts on what how we can BE in this season more intentionally and fully. We do have 8 days of the Christmas Season left.