Last nite was the twelfth nite of Christmas. I don't know of anyone who takes this 12 days of Xmas stuff literally, but my daughter and I have decided that we want to somehow. For me, at least in part, it is a rebellion against the total commercialization of the holiday, one that starts the day after Thanksgiving(or earlier) and goes thru the 25th(although just barely) followed on the 26th by the holiday of "Sale Shopping".
There are so many reasons why this is a good idea. This year, and probably from now on, we made lots of our gifts. As a late bloomer in every aspect of my life making lots of gifts has me scrambling(or feeling I should be) to get things ready and in the mail for friends and family to be there by Xmas. With the celebration of the 12 Days of Xmas some of that pressure to have everything(or anything) mailed in time to arrive by the 25th is removed. Finishing up with gift making during those 12 days is one way to keep my family, who are far away, closer. As I work on completing their gifts I hold them even closer in mind than I might normally. Now today is the Epiphany(the day after the 12 day of Christmas) and i've still put nothing in the mail, but I'm much closer than I was Xmas Eve. I think celebrating the 12 Days of Xmas will help me be less behind than I normally am.
I'm not sure what other forms this developing celebration of the 12 Days of Christmas will take beyond what I've already described. Maybe it won't be much different than when it was called Winter Break. Framed in the context of Christ's birth, which I like to think of in metaphorical terms in addition to the celebration of the actual birth of the actual person, for me, opens the door to discovering meanings which are life-affirming and renewing.
When I think of that precious baby Jesus it's hard not to think of all babies, and how precious each of them is. From there I think of precious birth in terms of what might be trying to be born in me and how might I support and nurture that humble birth in me and such births in my daughter, my family ,friends and the people I come into contact with as I move through my days. As Christians we are charged with seeing Christ in the face of even the most unlikely person. Why would that not include seeing Christ in ourselves--seeing that innocence that potential, that preciousness of that baby and later, as he grew, that strength, wisdom, compassion and vulnerability in ourselves?
Perhaps this quote I stumbled upon is at the root of some of these musings.
"The secret of Christmas:your own heart is the manger in which the birth of Christ takes place." Puran Bair
May your hearts be blessed with many "precious births" in the days and years to come.
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