Two Incarnations
The Book of Lost Things: A Review

On the First Day of Christmas

SnowIt's probably the case that most evangelical Christians do not know that the "twelve days of Christmas" actually begin with Christmas and end on Epiphany, January 6th, the day Eastern Orthodox Christians and some others celebrate the coming of the wise men.  If asked, most would likely say the twelve days begin 12 days before Christmas.

Contrarian that I am, I like to think of my Christmas celebration beginning today and going on until January 6th.  And yet the culture around me provides no encouragement.  Tomorrow is a big shopping day -- sales and returns.  For most folks Christmas is over.  Even school begins for my children on January 3rd.  I'm swimming upstream.

But I can do one thing.  I can continue to think on His coming in the flesh, on the meaning of His incarnation for my life in a new year.  One helpful tool is the song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  Some say this historic and mirthful song, seemingly secular, is a catechism of faith in secret code used by persecuted Catholics during the 16th century religious wars in England.  The evidence for that is inconclusive.  Nevertheless, it's a useful mnemonic device and one you can make use of during these twelve days.  I intend to do so.

You can read more about the twelve days of Christmas, and the song here.  The partridge in the pear tree?  Well, that symbolizes Jesus, the one we celebrate today, the one who watches over us, sheltering us under his wings. (Lk. 13:34).  Merry Christmas.