Christmas.jpg

Merry Christmas! (Day 2)

For most Christians, Christmas isn’t just a day but an entire liturgical season. We’re on Day 2. I was just chatting with a Lutheran friend and I told him to tell his family ‘Merry Christmas.’ His Baptist grandmother asked why I was still saying ‘Merry Christmas.’

The Twelve Days of Christmas isn’t just a song. Twelfth Night isn’t just the name of a Shakespeare play.

To mark the full 12 days here at the Hemingway household, the kids get to open a gift each day.

Today we celebrate St. …

  1. jarhead
    C

    It was an unusual Christmas for our household, as it was a tough year on multiple fronts for our family, and when it came to the end of the year, my wife and I were just too tired to drive the hundreds of miles to see any of the kids and grandkids.  So we stayed home and set up videoconferences with them which worked out well. 

    Maybe it will be a new tradition for us, but we invited in several widows who have lost their husbands in the last two years and have no other family in the area.  We had a great time with them, and it seemed they enjoyed the day as well.

    BTW, Christmas leftovers are just as good today, if not better, than they were yesterday!  Ham and eggs with some extra sharp cheddar cheese this morning was not good for my cholesterol, but was scrumptious!

    Merry Christmas to all! 

  2. Nick Stuart

    Love the idea of celebrating Christmas over 12 days.

    The contemporary method of a buildup that starts on Labor Day, builds into an orgiastic fervor between Thanksgiving and the second weekend of December (during which time everyone has to struggle to get all the school-calendar driven events “out of the way” before leaving town for wherever), then Christmas Day, then drops to blue business as usual on December 26 is profoundly depressing to me. I don’t even like to start thinking about Christmas until the first Sunday of Advent, no Christmas music until maybe 12/23, then a comfortable contemplative period between 12/25 and 1/6 would be nice (so would have been a pony and world peace for Christmas, but we can’t always get what we want).

  3. dittoheadadt

    It wasn’t until I spent time with my in-laws in Puerto Rico that I got my first clue why there are 12 days of Christmas.  Had never heard of 3 Kings’ Day.  And even when I did, I didn’t make the connection between Christmas (Dec. 25) and 3 Kings’ Day (Jan. 6)…a spread of…wait for it…12 days!  (Of course if I had just taken two seconds to think about it, the idea of the Wise Men showing up the same day as Christ’s birth should’ve raised a red flag.)

    Anyway, once I learned all that, Christmas became an even better holiday for me than it already was!  Now I play Christmas music (The Nutcracker, as I type) right up ’til January 6.

  4. Edward Smith

    the story of Stephen also marks when the formal Church began organizing itself, with a division of labor based on the Gifts, as described by Paul:

    So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

    Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

    Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

    Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

    Saint-Stephen.jpg

    I had not realized till now how fitting it is the Boxing Day is the feast of Saint Stephen.

  5. Hartmann von Aue

    We do the same here at the von Aue home. 12 days, Epiphany, the whole set. 

  6. Fricosis Guy

    Reinforced the teaching w/the son re: Christmas being 12 days last night.  It was neat because he was one of the Wise Men in the Christmas pageant…he got the Epiphany immediately.

    Christmas AM was a bit of a goat rodeo.  My in-laws are unchurched — especially the MIL, who is proudly so – which can make gatherings on religious holidays stressful.  Thankfully we made it to worship for a little Word and Sacrament, which made the day go a whole lot better.

  7. dittoheadadt

    Son of a gun. Now I know what Epiphany means, too (and now small-e epiphany makes sense to me as well!).

  8. Lucy Pevensie

    We know Christmas is 12 days, but we don’t act like it, which is sort of sad. I also hate that there’s no more Christmas music on the radio–but maybe I can figure out how to make this Sonos system I got for Christmas work, so we can continue to have season-appropriate music.

    As for St. Stephen’s day, well, yesterday evening for some reason I followed a link to a link to some awful story about a shooting of a young boy, and I had to remind myself that Christ comes into a broken world, and it is that brokenness that makes his coming, the gift of himself, so precious.  For me, St. Stephen’s day is a reminder of the brokenness that Christ came to save us from, the enormous value to us of his gift (that we should be willing to die for it), and that Christ came not just to live but to die for us.

  9. Fred Cole

    Wow.  12 days?  Who has the time or the energy?

    Is each one a full on holiday?  

  10. Fricosis Guy

    St. Stephen’s Day is also when we remind my parents of their foresight in naming their two sons Paul and Stephen. 

  11. Susan in Seattle

    Epiphany so often seems to be overlooked and sadly so.  It is such a rich time in the church calendar.  This year I put together a devotional for my church for Epiphany and have been deeply blessed in the process.  There is a wee group that will use it as a segue to a period of Daniel fasting in preparation for Lent.

  12. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Fred Cole: Wow.  12 days?  Who has the time or the energy?

    Is each one a full on holiday?   · 12 minutes ago

    The big parties are on Christmas Day and 12th Night. But we do mark each day within, too — on a much smaller scale.

  13. Edward Smith

    You can approach it more like Advent.  As a family, take time out of the day to mark it with song & prayer.

    Consider how many people manage to go to Mass daily.  Weekday services are often shorter than the Sunday services.

    Or how many Observant Jews make time for Prayer every day.

    Fred Cole: Wow.  12 days?  Who has the time or the energy?

    Is each one a full on holiday?   · 15 minutes ago

  14. Fred Cole
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Fred Cole: Wow.  12 days?  Who has the time or the energy?

    Is each one a full on holiday?   · 12 minutes ago

    The big parties are on Christmas Day and 12th Night. But we do mark each day within, too — on a much smaller scale. · 17 minutes ago

    How?  Aside from the kids opening a present.

  15. Amy Schley
    Lucy Pevensie: Weknow Christmas is 12 days, but we don’t act like it, which is sort of sad. I also hate that there’s no more Christmas music on the radio–but maybe I can figure out how to make this Sonos system I got for Christmas work, so we can continue to have season-appropriate music.

    Look, I love the religious side of the holiday as much as anyone, and I enjoy the actual Christmas music.

    But if I had to listen to that blasted hippo song, or the ex-Beatles assaults on the holiday, or Beach Boys one more bloody time .. it may have been a Black Christmas for someone.

    No more Christmas music on the radio? Jesus really has come to save us!!

  16. Hartmann von Aue

    It turns out the best Christmas gift was signing my daughter up for the Shaun the Sheep video games online. She just beat level six on the Barnyard Championsheeps, she informs me. 

  17. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Fred Cole

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Fred Cole: Wow.  12 days?  Who has the time or the energy?

    Is each one a full on holiday?   · 12 minutes ago

    The big parties are on Christmas Day and 12th Night. But we do mark each day within, too — on a much smaller scale. · 17 minutes ago

    How?  Aside from the kids opening a present. · 32 minutes ago

    During Advent, we fast. So during Christmas we feast and party — baked goods, meat, wine, etc. And we sing carols and hymns and we have home liturgical celebrations (entire Advent wreath is lit, etc.). Shopping for gifts, visits to friends, etc.

    It’s basically what the rest of the culture does prior to Christmas — we do it during Christmas.

  18. Fred Cole
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    During Advent, we fast. So during Christmas we feast and party — baked goods, meat, wine, etc. And we sing carols and hymns and we have home liturgical celebrations (entire Advent wreath is lit, etc.). Shopping for gifts, visits to friends, etc.

    It’s basically what the rest of the culture does prior to Christmas — we do itduringChristmas.

    I feel like I could adapt this system to my own purposes.

    Does it work without the fasting part?

  19. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Fred Cole

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    During Advent, we fast. So during Christmas we feast and party — baked goods, meat, wine, etc. And we sing carols and hymns and we have home liturgical celebrations (entire Advent wreath is lit, etc.). Shopping for gifts, visits to friends, etc.

    It’s basically what the rest of the culture does prior to Christmas — we do itduringChristmas.

    I feel like I could adapt this system to my own purposes.

    Does it work without the fasting part? · 5 minutes ago

    Not as well, but neither the fasting in anticipation nor the feasting in celebration is the important part of celebrating the Word made Flesh.

    In general, fasting is an important precursor to feasting, though. The “hunger is the best appetizer” idea of celebrations.

  20. Jimmy Carter

    Why does “fasting” take so long?

    I think I’ll name the time span between My meals “faster.”

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