Happy Christmas to all!
Christmas day is traditionally known as the beginning of “the twelve days of Christmas” concluding on January 6, which is called Epiphany. During the 12 days of Christmas, we join the chorus of Christ followers in commemoration of those who so faithfully loved Jesus the Messiah.
On December 26 we remember Saint Stephen, who was one of the early Church’s first deacons and a forerunner of expressing the love of Christ through generosity to the poor. On this day we give leftovers to the poor, as described in the popular Christmas carol, “Good King Wenceslas.” Stephen was also the first martyr, giving witness to the love of Christ by the sacrifice of his own life.
On December 27 we remember St. John the Evangelist, the one who gave witness to the Incarnation through his profound gospel message, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). On the 28th of December we recall the children who were murdered spitefully by Herod in the feast of the Holy Innocents, dying so unjustly and at such an early age. In their suffering we are awakened to the myriad ways human suffering has occurred in our broken world and throughout history. In their suffering we renew our hope in the coming of Christ to relieve suffering and grant mercy to those in need.
Finally, on January 6 the season of Christmas comes to an end…with the oft-forgotten festival of Epiphany. On this day we primarily commemorate the visit of the Magi with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh; we also celebrate the baptism of Jesus; and, we remember his first miracle of turning water into wine. The season of Advent has ushered in the celebrations of Christmastide, which comes to a glorious conclusion at Epiphany.
From there we turn our attention to the life and teachings of Jesus. We recommit ourselves once more to faithful living and loving and learning. We acknowledge the Incarnation of Jesus, we celebrate his coming into this world and into our hearts, and we lean fully into what it means to live fully committed to his teachings as ones who are lovingly redeemed and continuously transformed.
In Jesus the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…we behold his glory and we proclaim it to a lost and needy world. Thanks be to God!
Happy Christmastide to you and yours – may you…Behold the fulfilled promises of Almighty God ~ Believe the Gospel proclamation of Good News in the incarnate Jesus ~ Belong to those who anticipate the coming Messiah with joyful celebration ~ Become a faithful disciple who waits, watches, and wonders with Spirit-filled anticipation once more!