The Christmas Gift: A Story
The Second Day of Christmas

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 with Christmas and going on until January 6th - the twelfth day.  And yet the culture around me provides no encouragement.  Today is a big shopping day -- all sales and returns.  For most folks Christmas is over.  Even school begins for my children on January 5th.  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.  AS has been pointed out here, that's doubtful.  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 , the one who watches over us, sheltering us under his wings. (Lk. 13:34).  In these somewhat lazy after-Christmas days when, exhausted form the festivities and shopping, you might rest, just a little, think on Him outside the clutter of Christmas culture, when you can better hear His voice.

Merry Christmas.